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Wednesday, 26 October 2016


What’s inside Sakartvelo’s jails

2011-04-04 17:14

15431.jpegLooks like Khatuna Kalmakhelidze's next birthday present will be a black cloak and a scythe. Mistress of Sakartvelo's prisons is the real Death Maiden under whose keen surveillance prisoners die one after another. Prison mortality rate in Georgian penitentiaries has gone up by a third as compared to last year. Georgia's ombudsman Georgi Tugushu has reported on facts of ill-treatment of prisoners. And what did Mrs Kalmakhelidze reply? "I didn't read the report but I condemn these acts". 


Who said that Death looks like an awesome old lady or a skeleton wearing a black cloak? Far from it. Death may take the appearance of an attractive woman and work in public service. At least, these are things one can think of looking at Khatuna Kalmakhelidze, minister for punishment execution, probation and legal assistance. She is charming and smooth-tongued. She does not look like a person that is responsible for deaths in prisons in her charge.

Over the past five years Georgia has had the highest prisoner death rate. Last year 142 persons died in "the world's best" prisoners of Sakartvelo, 50 people more than in 2009. The drastic 33% increase in mortality rate seems a sinister figure against continuous assurances that Georgian jails are health resorts in fact.

The report by Georgian ombudsman Georgi Tugushi reveals that Georgian prisons are not at all a paradise. The sad irony of fate is that another pride of official Tbilisi is just a new fake. Human rights is the key indicator of a democratic state that today's Georgia claims to be. And conditions of prisoners in developed countries are one of the most important indexes showing how close a country is to the ideal. According to the ombudsman's report Georgia is rapidly going down to dark ages.

Sickness rate in Georgian prisons is extremely high. People get beaten. They suffer intolerable conditions without medical assistance. They have no hope that their pain and their troubles would make somebody care. 32% of prisoners that died in Georgian prisons had physical damages of various severity. And hardly will prison servants convince the society that prisoners beat their heads on walls in repentance or rush at the bars in a flight for freedom.

"Very often the facts that we investigate can't be defined as tortures but they are assessed as "inhuman treatment" or "treatment not respectful of human dignity". We had only 2-3 facts of tortures, and lots of examples of ill-treatment. These facts of ill-treatment refer to both - the police and the penitentiary system", - Tugushi said. - We saw a number of cases in 2009 and 2010 when prisoners were ill-treated - they were beaten".

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