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A female prisoner is driven to self-harm2009-02-16 10:10
An unprecedented event has occurred in the women's colony in Tbilisi. The prisoner Tsitso Sabashvili hammered nails into her hands and feet in order to demand that her case be re-examined. Yesterday, on 12 February, other inmates supported her protest by going on a hunger strike.
This incident was confirmed to a GeorgiaTimes correspondent by Nana Kakabadze, chairman of the NGO "Former political prisoners for human rights". Salome Makahardze, head of the press office at the Georgian Ministry for Implementing Sentences, Probations and Legal Aid, also officially confirmed this, as the Trend News agency reported.
Sabashvili visited the Deputy Public Defender Georgi Chkheidze. In an interview with a GeorgiaTimes correspondent, he clarified that Tsitso had been sentenced to 17 years in prison for murder. Last year her lawyer made an appeal to the prosecutor's office for her case to be reopened as a result of evidence that has newly come to light. The woman has still not received a response. In order to finally attract some attention to her case, she took this desperate step of inflicting physical injuries on herself. As Chkhveidze assured us in this interview, the Georgian ombudsman's office would be sending an appeal to the prosecutor's office over the incident.
According to a report by Nana Kakabadze, almost all the inmates in this colony declared a hunger strike yesterday in support of Sabashvili. Their demands also included improving the situation in the correctional facility.
The female prisoners have repeatedly resorted to protest actions over this issue. According to media reports, their hunger strike in June 2008 lasted two weeks. Some women were insisting that the cases be re-examined, and just as is happening now, demanded that the conditions of their confinement be improved. The action, as Kakabadze declared at the time, was stopped under pressure from the local administration.
In August 2007 three convicts starved themselves in a Tbilisi colony. They were outraged by the introduction of regulations whereby the department for implementing sentences received the right to increase the length of prisoners' imprisonment for the slightest breach of the rules.