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Murder or Suicide

04.01.2008
The police are investigating a case concerning putting a person in the position of committing suicide.

Jumber Nagervadze hung himself in the cell of the pre-trial detention center in Batumi. This is the official version of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Family members of the deceased cast doubts on the version but cannot afford an independent investigation. Regarding the accident the second division of the Batumi Police Department launched a case under the law concerning putting a person in the position of committing suicide.

The family of the deceased man is suspicious about the results of the investigation. “They have killed my son. He could not have killed himself. They have brought me my son in two parts; he was beaten and had bruises on his body, forehead, legs and knees. We can prove it with video materials. How could they conduct an forensic examination without the presence of the parents? I do not trust the results of the examination. I want a new examination but they demanded three thousand lari for that,” said the mother of the deceased prisoner, Naziko Nagervadze.

However, the family is not of the impression that even if the accident is investigated honestly, the guilty person will be punished properly. “The best result of the investigation could be firing one prison official. My son will not be assisted by that,” said the father.

Relatives of Jumber Nagervadze are sure that the prisoner was killed in his cell. Nagervadze lived in the village of Akhalsofeli in the Khelvachauri district. Representatives of the Special Operations Department arrested him during a special operation. “We were at home. Jumber’s phone rang; a taxi-driver, who he knew, was calling him. He went out and then we heard the shot. When we went out Jumber was wounded,” according to Davit Kokoladze, the cousin of the deceased.

“They broke into the house like animals; they were with many people. Policemen started searching the rooms but only family members attended the process. Finally one of them saw the computer in the room and said it might have been stolen and took it with them. In fact, another son of mine had sent that computer from Moscow, “said Naziko Nagervadze.

Jumber Nagervadeze was taken to the pre-trial detention center. On the next day at 6 o’clock he was found dead in his cell. Nagervadze did not have an attorney. The family was going to hire a lawyer on the next day. “Jimber asked us to take on an attorney for him; in the meanwhile the police had not assigned a state attorney for him yet,” said Geno Nagervadze, the brother.

Giorgi Charkviani, a representative of the Public Defender in the Adjara Autonomous Republic, who visited the cell where the prisoner was found dead, stated that “on November 15 another prisoner in Nagervadze’s cell was taken to court. Half an hour later Nagervadze requested the guard to get him some water but several minutes later the guard saw how Nagervadze was floundering in the cell. The guard started crying for help. Generally, guards do not have keys to the cell so he could not enter. Afterwards, the entire personnel and the head of the prison arrived at the scene and tried to help him, but in vain.” Charkviani received this information from the guards.

The Human Rights Center asked Suliko Beridze, the head of the pre-trial detention center, to comment on the incident. However, he only referred us to the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs where it is stated that Nagervadze committed suicide.

Maka Malakmadze, Batumi

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