07:57 GMT +324 September 2017

    More Georgian Prison Staff Held on Torture Charges

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    The Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office detained and charged four employees of Kutaisi Prison No. 16 on Thursday for allegedly torturing inmates, Prosecutor Shota Tkeshelashvili said at a press briefing.

    Kutaisi Prison No. 16 is the second penal institution in Georgia where acts of torture by law enforcement officers have been revealed this month, NEWSGEORGIA reported.

    Previously, the Interior Ministry said it had uncovered incidents of prisoners being abused in Gldani Prison No. 8 in Tbilisi. Investigators said a group of prison employees were treating prisoners cruelly, and recorded video material of their actions. The Prosecutor General's Office said ten  Department of Corrections employees have been arrested, including the deputy department head and the prison director.

    The Interior Ministry published the video material on its website, noting that only a small portion has been made available to the public. The remaining footage will not be shown due to its explicit content, it said.

    The Maestro and Ninth TV channels showed shocking videos of beatings and rapes in prison, and claim they have all the recorded materials.The channels said they received the videos from former prison employee Vladimir Bedukadze, who is now in Belgium.

    Mass rallies have taken place in Tbilisi and other Georgian cities by protesters demanding the guilty be punished.

    The Prosecutor General’s Office reported that an investigation into the torturing of prisoners is underway. Some 12 department employees have been detained and another former prison employee has been placed on the wanted list.

    Corrections and Legal Assistance Minister Khatuna Kalmakhelidze and Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaya have resigned over the incident. Georgy Tugushi, the public defender, became the new corrections minister, and Eka Zguladze, the former Deputy Interior Minister, was appointed acting Interior Minister.

    Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili has been tasked with controlling the penitentiary system.

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