Confessions of a prisoner, or 4 years in Georgian prison07.02.2013 | 18:19
Under Shevardnadze children from an early age began to comprehend the basics of "thieves' wisdom" in the courtyards, where they played not cops and robbers, but something like a "thief in law". Already grown up girls dreamed to marry a crime boss, and guys wished to become crime boss. With the change of government has changed. Georgia, with a population of about 3 million, rates second in the world after the U.S. in the number of prisoners per capita. And well-known scandal after the release of video depicting personnel of the Gladni prison torturing detainees has proved that in this country the issue of attitude to prisoners is very acute. What is actually the life in a Georgian prison?
My companion, let's call him Boris, served four years for theft. This was his first conviction. Moreover, before that, for 10 years, Boris lived not in Georgia. He can be called a repatriate. Georgia afar seemed blessed and luring. However, due to bad luck, six months after arriving home he found himself in the dock. Here is his story.
- Information about the Georgian police and the prison system, which penetrates into the consciousness of the average citizen thanks to the efforts of the Georgian media and PR sounds pretty rosy and positive. Can you tell us how things really are?
- I'll try, I have nothing to hide. Alone, please, let's not name the prison where I was serving sentences. The fact is that, except for the 4 years that I served, I have a suspended sentence - 4 years. I would not want to endanger my lives and well-being of my family.
- Ok. How long are you at large?
- For a couple of months before the end of 2012, after the parliamentary election. I should note right away that neither the amnesty, nor pardon from the President or the Patriarchate applied to me.
- Glass and transparent police stations is a myth?
- The one where I served my term was a perfectly ordinary building. But if we talk about the most modernistic police buildings, there are internal closed areas where they hold prisoners, and they are not visible from the street. Often they are the basements. And yes, they beat the suspects who do not testify correctly, often kicking, often on the head. They beat technically, thus no traces remain. I know it from the guys with whom I served my term.
- As far as I know, all those who are under investigation, at first get to the infamous Gldani prison. Is that correct?
- Yes, it is. I was there until the final verdict and after it for several months.
- Do you know anything about the procedural agreements how actively they use it in Georgia since 2003?
- Yes, of course, and I know firsthand. Even at the first trial the judge told me that my offense was punishable from 3 to 5 years, all multiplied by 5, since I had 5 proven episodes (i.e. I could get a sentence for 15-25 years!). In return, my family offered to pay 2,000 GEL, which is about $ 1,500.
- Who calculates the sum of the agreement?
- They do it by eye. Looking at the suspect, you can determine how much he can pay for freedom. Of course, when it comes to such cases as drug trafficking, murder, etc., the amount is much higher. Moreover, if a person has committed manslaughter, such as self-defense or murder in a fight, he is offered to pay only part of the appointed time. For example, instead of 5 years in prison inmate will serve 2 years.
- So, before and after the trial you were in Gldani. How were you treated?
- First and foremost, anyone who gets into this prison must spend some time in quarantine. I do not know the meaning of this event, since there were carried out no tests, examinations and inspections of doctors. I was just deprived of my belongings and clothing, except that which has remained on me. Then I was placed in a closed cell designed for up to 6 people. When I was brought back, nearly 20 people were in the cell, as I was told - it's not the limit. They do not allow smoking; you also cannot sleep, since there is simply no place. I was lucky, I was in quarantine for about a day, and some have to sit there for 15 days.
- What were you given for the use from the state?
- A mattress, a bedding set, a blanket, a bowl, a spoon and a cup (the utensils were plastic). Everything else you can be purchased at the store or ask relatives to bring you.
- Can you tell us more details about the store?
- In prison there is no cash. You pay with a bank card if your relatives, friends or any interested persons, who are in Georgia, bring it. Prices are about the same as in a regular supermarket, maybe some products are slightly more expensive. In a stall, you can buy absolutely everything from socks and underwear and ending radio and TV (only 1 per cell). However, there is often lack of the most needed goods.
- What about hygiene?
- There are lice, cockroaches, bed bugs, rats, mice. There have been attempts to fight it through disinfection of clothes and facilities. It helped for a short time.
- What is the food in jail?
- Portions are of sufficient volume. I cannot call the food completely inedible, but when cooking they are using a completely indigestible fat. In my opinion, that was artificial food fat, which has terrible smell and quickly cools. Every day there is always some meat product, it can be one sausage per person, or chicken soup, while you do not know what gets into the plate - a piece of neck or chicken skin. Each prisoner gets sugar. Beginning in February 2012, they began to give us 25 grams of sandwich butter (margarine) per day. I think that was due to an increase in the incidence of tuberculosis among prisoners.