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Prisoner Escaped Death after European Court Took Up His Case

30.09.2009
Shorena Kakabadze, Kutaisi

Several days ago Mamuka Ninua, a prisoner, was taken to the Tbilisi Central Hospital from Rustavi prison N 6 after his health conditions had seriously worsened. He has chronic colitis, psychopathia and Hepatitis C. He escaped death with the support of his attorney and the European Human Rights Court. The European Court demanded that the government of Georgia study Ninua’s health condition   and provide him with full medical assistance.

The story started in 2006 when Mamuka Ninua’s health condition became extremely poor in Kutaisi Prison N 3 and hisattorney requested a medical diagnosis from his personal case materials. As usual, the prison administration did not grant their request. The family members of the convicted urgently wanted to save him.

“In reply to our request the Mamuka Ninua was taken to Rustavi Prison N 6 from the Kutaisi prison. I requested the medical diagnosis of his health conditions in order to take all necessary measures to assist him. After several attempts I was informed that his health condition was satisfactory and did not require additional examinations. However, his condition was getting worse day-by-day. Once he tried to commit suicide. He requested me to help him permanently,” said the lawyer Ana Chapidze.

After the appeal of the lawyer the former Public Defender of Georgia Sozar Subari also visited Mamuka Ninua. He requested a medical diagnosis of Ninua from the administration of the Rustavi Prison N 6. There was no response to His first request but after his next request Mamuka Ninua was taken to the hospital.

“His diagnose was chronic colitis and psychopathia. Although it is unusual, he stayed in the hospital. Soon he was sent to the Ksani Prison N 7 on a strict regime where he was put in the punishment cell for no clear reason. It was their reply to my years-long requests. I have been trying to treat the convict as a human being and to do something to save him. It was terrible for me as an attorney because I could not protect my client and his rights,” said Ana Chapidze.

An appeal was sent to Levan Jachvliani, head of penitentiary management of the Public Defender’s Office, signed by Davit Margebadze, director of the strict regime prison N 6 within the penitentiary department of Georgia. The appeal stated that “in reply to your letter we would like to inform you that on 13.02.09 the convict was sent to the prison hospital for medical examination. The diagnosis was chronic colitis and psychopathia. Today his health conditions are stable and he will not be taken to the prison hospital.”

The European Court of Human Rights settled the problem of the “healthy prisoner” later. The attorney sent an urgent appeal to the European Court after she realized that nobody cared about the problem in Georgia,  from the prison director to the Minister of Penitentiary and Probation. In her urgent appeal the attorney requested the European Court to use temporary remedies in accordance with Article 39 of the Court Regulation – to diagnose the convict correctly, to place him in the central hospital and treat him properly in order to save him from death.

In reply to the urgent appeal the European Court sent the appeal of the attorney (with attached documents) to the Government of Georgia and in accordance with Article 54 Paragraph 2 of the Court Regulation ordered the Government to send all medical documents on the convict to the Court before September 4, 2009. The documents should have contained the information about the convict’s health condition and all the medical procedures that were carried out on him during imprisonment.

“The most important is that the government of Georgia did not receive any new documents from the European Court. It sent the same documents I had sent to the Ministry of Penitentiary and Probation several times and they might still be in the office of one of the officials from the ministry. It is a fact that the next day after I received the copy of the letter of the European Court to the Government of Georgia, the convict was taken to the central hospital. He had darkened lungs and hernia; he was operated on several days later. In addition to that he had hepatitis C and the prison administration had denying this fact. Now this diagnose is confirmed and I hope the European Court will be informed about it,” said the attorney.

As was discovered, the information collected from the medical notifications about the convict do not coincide with the responses of the prison administration since 2006. It is one of those cases in which the government is sensitive about Georgians only on TV but the problems of the people are resolved only after the European Court becomes involved.

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