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Young Prisoner Died Because of Inattention

May 3, 2014
Nino Andriashvili, lawyer

Avtandil Maisuradze would have turned 26 on May 23. He served his imprisonment term in Kutaisi Prison # 14. On March 23 he died after his health conditions got particularly grave. 

“I would like to notify you that under previous government, I was subjected to torture and inhuman treatment in different penitentiary establishments during several years; as a result I got serious health problems. In addition to that, I am arbitrary prisoner. They put me in prison for the crime which I had not committed,” Avtandil Maisuradze’s letter sent to the Human Rights Center three months ago started with these words.

In the letter the prisoner wrote that he was arbitrarily convicted for illegal possession and purchase of firearms, though in fact guns were planted by police officers. The prisoner wrote about torture and inhuman treatment during imprisonment. “I was taken to Batumi prison on May 16, 2012. Since then I was permanently physically abused, tortured, beaten before famous video-footage about torture of prisoners was aired by TV-Companies in 2012. They tortured me to get confession statement from me but I did not do that.”

As a result of torture and inhuman treatment, the prisoner had health problems. Despite many applications and petitions to relevant institutions, he could not receive medical assistance. He received only painkillers.

“To tell the truth, I do not know how long I will stand this pain. I am afraid I will commit suicide to end this torture,” the late prisoner wrote in his letter. Periodically he could not move his lower limbs; he suffered from acute pains.

Medical department at the Ministry of Corrections used to inform Human Rights Center and the prisoner during several months that they planned to examine the prisoner in near future and to provide him with the consultation of surgeon in order to plan future medical treatment. 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging showed that Avtandil Maisuradze had 14 spinal bones broken; he had problems in the chest and waste bones; problems of eyesight and unbearable headaches; despite similar health problems the Ministry did not send him to the neuro-surgeon for consultation, who could plan his treatment.

In fact, no effective measures were taken to provide the prisoner with medical treatment. Of course, only diagnosis could not recover the patient. 

Prisoner’s right to medical assistance determines the obligation of the state to provide a prisoner with timely medical treatment, who does not have access to relevant medical service.

Human Rights Center believes the Medical Service of the penitentiary system shall effectively work in penitentiary establishments to avoid similar facts. It is one of the necessary pre-conditions to ensure normal conditions for prisoners. 

Medical service provided for prisoners shall meet international standards under the international acts. Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights also obliges the state to ensure prisoners’ right to health. Otherwise, lack of sufficient medical services, might be equal to the treatment prohibited under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.