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Georgia: “Whistleblower” witnessed torture on daily basis

last updated Sep 24, 2012

The torture videos released last week have led to mass protests in the country and international criticism of Georgia’s human rights record. The videos were leaked by a Vladimir Bedukadze, a former prison guard now seeking asylum in Belgium. According to Bedukadze, he witnessed torture and violence since 2005 on a daily basis.

President Saakashvili faces tough elections on 1 Oct
President Saakashvili faces tough elections on 1 Oct; Source: James Fimley (Wikimedia Commons)

President Saakashvili has launched an investigation and Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaia has resigned. Shortly after the broadcast of the videos, ten prison officials were arrested. Saakashvili believes that the opposition bloc from billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili was involved in setting up the incident to discredit him and has accused two people, Tamaz Tamazashvili and Tamaz Elizbarashvili, of handing the video to a third party. Both allegedly have close ties to Ivanishvili.

On 1 October, parliamentary elections will be held in Georgia and supposed to be the first real test for President Saakashvili since he came to power in 2003.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights called for a prompt, impartial and effective investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators. Georgia has one of the highest prison population rates (514 per 100,000 of national population; ICPS 2012).

CNN: Former Georgia prison guard: I witnessed abuse for years

Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/19/georgia-prison-guards-torture-video

Georgia country profile