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Journalists eager to get to Khatuna’s “paradise”2011-02-08 16:51
Georgian human right defenders and journalists demanded that the government should let them into prisons. They have been so attractively described by Minister for Execution of Sentences Khatuna Kalmakhelidze that it would be logic to show the people the mentioned democratic achievements, such as three-star hotels for prisoners' meetings and up-to-date prison clinics. If convicts really live in such "resort" conditions, then there is no harm in every five Georgians out of one thousand being kept in a place of detention.
If everything is as wonderful in Georgia's sentence execution system as Khatuna Kalmakhelidze asserts, then why are independent journalists and experts not allowed there? Nana Kakabadze, head of the Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights organization has been asking that question for over a year. Today, the question has grown into a demand to let the experts to the places of detention, which is addressed to the government.
Kakabadze's initiative was joined by a TV expert Shalva Ramishvili who has served a term of several years for bribing, his colleagues Nana Lezhava, Nino Zuriashvili, Iya Antadze, reporters of the Obyektiv studio and other journalists. They held a briefing in the office of the Solidarity with Illegal Prisoners organization where they disclosed a special statement addressed to Kalmakhelidze.
The initiative group has got no illusions about getting a positive reply.
- We expect no reaction, - Nana Kakabadze said in her talk to GeorgiaTimes. - But we are planning to hold other events, such as picketing the ministry and penitentiary system institutions if the minister does not agree to let the journalists into prisons and show them what she described in her latter speech. She asserted that there are good conditions in prisons and that rooms have been built for personal meetings; there are three-star hotels at the cost of 60 laris and people die not of tortures and inhuman treatment but of growing old. Human right defenders have got certain doubts. Let the authorities open the doors so that we could see if there is true paradise in prisons. That's why we demand that the journalists are let in to see with their own eyes who is right.
Kakabadze gets letters from prisons refuting the fairy tales of the long-legged Khatuna Kalmakhelidze. The prisoners of Ksanskaya prison No.15 assert that they are beaten on their director's order.