On June 26 representatives of Human Rights Center held a press conference at “Reportiori” press-club about the practice of torture in the penitentiary system. According to the executive Director Aleko Tskitishvili, June 26 is an International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. The torture is an important issue ინ more than one hundred countries.
“Torture is not a new issue in Georgia. Recently it was a systematic crime. Now, there is no systematic crime in prisons, but we are concerned to observe increasing statistics for last years. It was mentioned in the Public Defender’s reports too,”- said Aleko Tskitishvili.
According to the executive director, cases processed by Human Rights Center indicate at the increased facts of torture.
“Victims of torture and inhuman treatment are being oppressed, so they would stop complaining. They force prisoners using specific methods to sign a document that they have no complain and no injuries, which are described by the expertise, as if they get those injuries accidentally falling down on the floor or stairs,”-says Tskitishvili.
According to Aleko Tskitishvili, legal and psychosocial rehabilitation for prisoners who are victims of torture and inhuman treatment is not provided, which is an important issue. Intra-agency investigation practice of crimes within penitentiary system also remains as a problem. This means that they investigate the crimes that occur within the penitentiary system by themselves.
According to the lawyer of Human Rights Center, Nestan Londaridze, now the center protects prisoners –Tamaz Rasoyan and Paata Surameli, who are serving their sentences in prison N7.
According to the lawyer, the prisoner Paata Surameli told the lawyer that on September 14 2014, he was at prison N6, where he was beaten and tortured and after transferred to the prison N8. The incident happened at the place, which is under a video surveillance.
According to the prisoner, because of the injuries, he asked for medical assistance, but he was refused. After he decided to write a complaint, they put chains on him, kept him in the bathroom all night and next morning transferred to Batumi prison N3. According to the prisoner, he was constantly oppressed, so he would not name those persons who participated in maltreatment. He was forced to refuse complaint. He was placed in a solitary cell for 19 days, after he was transferred to N7 prison.
According to the prisoner, he is now in a solitary cell, with inhuman conditions, the cell is humid, water is leaking, air window is sealed and the cell is not being ventilated. The prisoner is limited to use phone calls, personal correspondence, and right to get parcels or use TV and radio.
Human Rights Center has been protecting rights of the prisoner Tamaz Rasoyan for years. He has been a victim of torture and maltreatment since the previous Government. On December 3, 2014, as the prisoner says, again he was severely beaten in prison N8.
According to Londaridze, Rasoyan was visited by a detective who was oppressing him so he would stop criminal disclosure of the officials.
“Human Rights Center repeatedly called on the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance, also the Prosecutor’s Office to react on the prisoner’s information, where he says that the other prisoners are maltreated as well. Despite the multiple appeals from Human Rights Center, not the Ministry nor the Prosecutor’s office had an effective reaction on this incident,” – says Nestan Londaridze.
Human Rights Center calls for Chief Prosecutor’s Office, to have an appropriate reaction about possible facts of torture and inhuman treatment and provide a legal defense for prisoner’s rights. Human Rights Center also calls for Human Rights Committee of Georgian Parliament, to provide an effective parliamentary control for investigation of Paata Surameli and Tamaz Rasoyan cases.