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Exemplary Precedent

25.08.2011

Prosecutor’s Office Arrested Officers Accused of Torture of Prisoner

Aleko Tskitishvili

West Georgia’s Regional Prosecutor’s Office passed verdict in favor of prisoner Ramaz Pataraia; the Human Rights Center represented him at the trial. As a result, the officers of the penitentiary department were detained as accused of the prisoner’s torture and abuse of their power.

Head of Legal Clinic of the Human Rights Center Nino Andriashvili has been defending the rights of prisoner Ramaz Pataria since September of 2010. The prisoner has serious health problems – his lower limbs are paralyzed and moves by wheelchair; has post-trauma stress and cramps.

The prisoner wrote in his explanation letter that prison officers – certain Dato (he did not remember his surname) and Nugzar Zhorzholiani ruthlessly beat him in Kutaisi Prison # 2 on December 3, 2009. They were kicking him in the legs, back and head; were insulting him. After the incident, the prisoner requested the assistance of the doctor and treatment in hospital several times but his request was not satisfied.

The West Georgia’s Regional Prosecutor’s Office launched criminal investigation on the incident on February 19, 2010.

On January 29, 2010 Ramaz Pataraia became victim of the violence for the second time. Officer of the bailiff service beat him when transporting him from Kutaisi Prison # 2 to jail hospital. After the incident, representative of the public defender visited him and mentioned his injuries in the protocol.

After the Human Rights Center took up the case, the Center the application was sent to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The latter requested the Georgian prosecutor’s office to provide them with the information about the ongoing investigation on Ramaz Pataraia’s case and what was done for his adequate medical treatment.

Public Defender’s Office also got interested in Ramaz Pataraia’s physical assault and health conditions. Based on the expertise conclusion, the PDO sent recommendation to the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Aid to immediately provide Pataraia with corresponding medicines and place him in hospital.

The prosecutor’s office red taped the investigation of the criminal case and estimation/detention of the suspects. Meanwhile, the Human Rights Center was requesting to judge and punish the offenders for torture and inhuman treatment of the prisoner.

After the Strasbourg Court involved the case, the prosecutor’s office had to more or less adequately respond to the fact.

On August 22, 2011 as a result of the investigation procedure – recognition the Prosecutor’s Office of the West Georgia detained the inspector of the Kutaisi Prison # 2 Nugzar Zhorzholiani and controller Davit Svanidze. During the recognition procedure, Ramaz Pataraia easily recognized Davit Svanidze. The investigation knew about Nugzar Zhorzholiani from the very beginning but they never hurried to arrest him.  

On August 24, 2011 the people were charged under Article 333 Part III – “b” of the Criminal Code of Georgia. On the same day, regional prosecutor’s office of the West Georgia petitioned to the Kutaisi City Court and requested imprisonment for Davit Svanidze and Nugzar Zhorzholiani.

On August 25, 2011 the Kutaisi City Court satisfied the petition and sent the accused to two-month pretrial imprisonment.

Unfortunately, the West Georgia’s regional prosecutor’s office needed two years to expose the offenders. However, the investigation could easily found out who was on duty in the custody on the day of incident. Simultaneously, they have not yet found out the personality of the bailiff officer who beat Pataraia on January 29, 2010 when transporting him to the jail hospital.

Although the officers from the Kutaisi Prison # 2 are not charged for torture or inhuman treatment of the prisoner but the abuse of power, the Human Rights Center appreciates the precedent of punishing harassers of the prisoner.

Hopefully, this fact will make law enforcement officers, who torture prisoners in custodies, to think over their activities because earlier or later they might also face criminal liability and justice will win.

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