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Respiratory Failure or Professional Negligence

29.11.2017

 
Natia Gogolashvili

“Respiratory failure caused by alcoholic intoxication,” on November 21, the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia published the conclusion into the death case of Paata Pavliashvili, who deceased during the detention in Nutsubidze Plateau on October 25, this year. The prosecutor’s office claims the man died as a result of respiratory failure. The expertise conclusion also states that narcotic or psychotropic substances were not found in his body. 

“According to the conclusion, the person died of respiratory failure caused by alcoholic intoxication. There are no traces of injury on his body except the marks from medical manipulations carried out by the emergency medical team. There were no narcotic or psychotropic substances in P.P’s body. Investigative activities are underway and after they are over, the prosecutor’s office will provide the society with detailed information,” the prosecutor’s office stated. 

32-years-old Paata Pavliashvili died in the moment of detention in the 4th quarter of the Nutsubidze Plateau. The criminal case was launched under the Article 116 of the Criminal Code of Georgia that is about negligent manslaughter. However, the family and their advocate, lawyer of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association Levan Vepkhvadze, request to re-qualify the case. They request to continue the investigation into professional negligence. 

On October 25, the MIA disseminated a statement and clarified the developments during the incident. 

“On October 25, citizens called for Patrol Police to Nutsubidze Plateau in connection with the conflict between the neighbors. Patrol police inspectors who arrived at the place have dissolved the tension and started investigative activities defined by the law. Patrol inspectors were approached by supposedly drunk person, who behaved aggressively and verbally insulted person who called police, citizens who were present at the scene and patrol police officers as well. Patrol-inspectors repeatedly called on the citizen to maintain law and order, however he did not obey to the legitimate demand of the police and behaved even more aggressively. During the detention procedures of the mentioned person which were carried out in full compliance of the law, he suddenly became indisposed and died at the scene,” the MIA statement reads.

Society has many questions with regard to the death of Paata Pavliashvili. On October 29, the prosecutor’s office disseminated the statement, where they clarified that the surveillance camera of the patrol inspector did not record the incident and Pavliashvili’s detention moment. 

“During the interrogation in the prosecutor’s office, the patrol inspector clarified that his surveillance camera recorded his conversation with the incident participants non-stop after what he switched it off and turned on only after Pavliashvili was fined and felt bad. The second patrol inspector said his camera was flat during the incident and had left in the car for charging. This camera has not recorded the incident at all,” the prosecutor’s office stated. 

The fact that Paata Pavliashvili’s body was taken to Rustavi unit of the Rustavi Levan Samkharauli Forensic Expertise Bureau for the expertise also raised questions. The Bureau had to make clarifications about it. 

„To ensure security and safety standards of the personnel in the Samkharauli National Bureau of Forensic Expertise (Tbilisi), technical rehabilitation-renovation activities are conducted periodically. Among them is rehabilitation activities of the lift. On October 19 this year, the contractor company Ltd Georgian Lifts Company applied the Bureau with the request to stop operation of the lifts for two days to conduct urgent rehabilitation activities in the lifts. Consequently, in the mentioned period 6 deceased persons – including the body of Paata Pavliashvili was taken to Rustavi Forensic Expertise Unit,” Levan Samkharauli National Bureau of Forensic Expertise reported. 

“This accident proves the problem which was raised by nongovernmental organizations for the past years. This tragic fact raises the necessity of systemic reform in the police, which shall create the law enforcement institution which serves the people and the society will trust and cooperate. At the same time, it is necessary to create effective legal mechanism which will respond to the problem of impunity of law enforcement officers,” the statement of NGOs reads, which is signed by 7 NGOs. 

The third sector pays attention to the absence of video recording. They said this fact raises more questions in the society while the acting internal instruction and the Code of Ethics of the MIA, oblige the patrol inspector to video-record all cases they work with. 

“Recordings of the surveillance cameras are significant and often the only evidence to estimate whether the police officers abused their power or other offences were committed. Similar recordings may be used to prove the innocence of a citizen or vice versa, to prove the innocence of the law enforcement officer. This case once again demonstrated that adequate documenting of the communication between the police officer and a citizen is still a problem that as a rule works against the citizen. Video-recording is not and cannot be dependent on the individual decision of the police and it is significant that all police or investigative procedures were recorded by surveillance camera,” the statement reads. 

Law-makers invited the Minister of Interior to the Parliament with regard to Paata Pavliashvili’s death fact to hear his answers to their questions. The former Minister of Interior Giorgi Mgebrishvili planned visit in the Parliament of Georgia but on November 14 Giorgi Gvakharia replaced him. The society is still waiting for the answers from the investigation. 

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