Thousands of protesters took to the streets in several Georgian cities after national TV channels broadcast video evidence of torture and rape in Gldan Prison in the capital, Tbilisi. The minister of Execution of Sentences has resigned as a result.
Masses of Georgians joined spontaneous rallies in Tbilisi, Batumi, Poti, Gori and other cities after Maestro TV and TV-9 exposed that guards in the Gldan detention facility beat prisoners and raped them with rubber truncheons.
Shocked by the terror and violence on TV screens, citizens called for justice and promised to continue their protests if no action taken.
Protesters in Tbilisi demanded the Minister of Execution of Sentences and Corrections Khatuna Kalmakhelidze be fired. She has been fiercely criticized for quite some time already, and on Wednesday morning the minister submitted her resignation.
“Being a minister I tried to make human rights secure, but it seems my efforts were insufficient,” the former minister stated.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili was forced to make a special statement on Tuesday night.
“What happened in Gldan Prison is an outrageous act targeting human dignity and rights. Those who organized, implemented and allowed it to happen deserve the strictest punishment and they will spend many years in prison,”Saakashvili promised.
An investigation was initiated and in just one day 10 guards suspected of torture have been detained. These include the director of the Gldan prison, David Chkadua, and guard Datu Akobia who actually made the video of suspects abusing prisoners. Akobia was arrested trying to cross the Armenian-Georgian border at the Sadahlo checkpoint.
The Prosecutor General of Georgia Murtaz Zodelava has stated at a special media briefing dedicated to the scandalous case that the videos of torture in prison were passed to TV channels by members of the opposition.
He specified that it was Tamaz Tamazishvili, a representative of the Georgian Dream opposition coalition led by Bidzina Ivanishvili, the opponent and main political rival for the upcoming presidential election of the ruling President Mikhail Saakashvili.
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