The International Secretariat of OMCT appeals to the high-ranking
officials of the government of Georgia regarding the physical assault
of Vakhtang Maisaia who was arrested for espionage. They appeal to the
president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, secretary of the Security
Council of Georgia Eka Tkeshelashvili, the minister of internal affairs
Vano Merabishvili, the minister of justice of Georgia Zurab Adeishvili,
the chairman of the human rights committee of the parliament of Georgia
Giorgi Arsenishvili and the public defender of Georgia Giorgi Tughushi.
The OMCT learned about the incident from the member of the OMCT SOS
network in Georgia the Human Rights Center.
Alleged ill-treatment, Threats, Violations of due process, Fear for safety
The International Secretariat of OMCT has received new information and requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Georgia.
The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Human Rights Center (HRIDC), a member of OMCT SOS Network, that Mr. Vakhtang Maisaia, a political scientist and military expert, who was arrested for espionage on 5 May 2009, was severely beaten on 24 August 2010 in Gldani Prison #8 in Tbilisi.
According to the information received, on 24 August 2010, Mr. Vakhtang Maisaia, who has started a hunger strike on 18 August 2010 to denounce among other his situation, was severely beaten by a prison officer when he protested the transfer of his cellmate to a punishment cell. He was allegedly punched against the wall, grabbed at the neck and he was hit on the nose as well as in the stomach. The prison’s doctor later examined Mr. Vakhtang Maisia but he was reportedly only given painkillers and the doctor’s report was not made available to Mr. Vakhtang Maisia’s lawyer. This latter has therefore requested an alternative independent expertise. However, to date, this request has not been approved.
According to the same information, when Mr. Vakhtang Maisaia denounced the aforementioned facts before the prison authority and the Public Defender of Georgia, he was allegedly threatened by the prison officer with “disappearance” and further beatings that would be registered as self-mutilation.
OMCT reiterates its concerns for the safety of Mr. Vakhtang Maisaia and urges the authorities of Georgia to guarantee his physical and psychological integrity at all times in accordance with regional and international human rights law, in particular the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
OMCT also calls on the competent authorities to carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the aforementioned facts, the result of which must be made public, in order to bring those responsible before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law.
OMCT is further concerned that the authorities did not respect the rights of Mr. Vakhtang Maisaia guaranteed by the law of Georgia and international human rights standards.
OMCT had been informed about the denial of due process to Mr. Vakhtang Maisaia, a political scientist and military expert, who was arrested for espionage on 5 May 2009.
According to the information received, while Mr. Vakhtang Maisaia has had access to his lawyer since his arrest, the interrogation sessions have repeatedly taken place during night hours without the presence of his lawyer. In addition, Mr. Vakhtang Maisaia’s lawyer was reportedly only able to have access to his client’s case file on 17 May 2009 and then merely in a restricted way.
According to the same information, during his interrogation at the Counter Intelligence Department, Mr. Vakhtang Maisaia was intimidated and threatened with physical violence, following which he allegedly signed a statement in which he pleads guilty as well as provides the names of two other individuals. Mr. Vakhtang Maisaia had later reportedly to confirm this statement while being again threatened with violence. He was further requested to collaborate with the Counter Intelligence Department failing which he would be sent to jail in harsh conditions. Mr. Vakhtang Maisaia reportedly refused such collaboration. The aforementioned allegations have reportedly never been investigated. On 29 January 2010, Mr. Vakhtang Maisaia was sentenced by the Tbilisi City Court to 20 years in prison for spying.
Please write to the authorities in Georgia urging them to:
1. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Vakhtang Maisaia;
2. Guarantee unconditional access to his lawyer and his family, as well as guarantee that he is examined by independent medical doctors and receives adequate medical care in accordance with, inter alia, the recommendations of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners;
3. Order his immediate release in the absence of valid legal charges that are consistent with international legal standards, or, if such charges exist, bring him before an impartial, independent, competent and fair tribunal and guarantee his procedural rights at all times;
4. Carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the ill-treatment and threats, the result of which must be made public, in order to bring those responsible before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;
5. Guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.