Problems Relating to Maltreatment of Prison Inmates

23 Feb, 2012

On February 8, the Public Defender of Georgia jointly with the Young Lawyers’ Association of Georgia (GYLA) held a round-table meeting to consider key problems relating to maltreatment of prison inmates.  The support for the meeting was provided by the Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF).

Monitoring results were presented by Natia Imnadze, a representative of the Public Defender, Giorgi Tughushi, the Public Defender, and Tamar Chugoshvili, the GYLA chairperson.

GYLA and the Public Defender monitored prisons in the first half of 2011 as part of the joint project.  They looked into human rights conditions in prisons and detention centers of Eastern Georgia.

“I am glad that the Public Defender’s Office is not the only organization involved in the monitoring.  GYLA and other NGOs stand by us.  I hope that our work will help gradually eliminate a number of current drawbacks with respect to medical care and treatment of inmates”, said Giorgi Tughushi, the Public Defender.

The common problem faced by all prisons is inefficient investigation of cases of abusive treatment. Tamar Chugoshvili, the GYLA chairperson, said: „Maltreatment of prisoners by the prison administration and respective investigation were the key problems identified during the monitoring. The investigation is inefficient, in some cases it is not initiated at all. Therefore, prisoners apply to the Strasbourg Court rather often”.

Prisoners filing an application in the Strasbourg Court are treated particularly strictly – they come under huge phsycological and physical pressure.  “Recently we have noticed a trend of withdrawing applications from the Strasbourg Court by prisoners without consulting with their lawyers.  This is the decision made under the pressure”, said a representative of Article 42 of the Constitution.

According to the organizations, no progress has been observed in terms of the treatment of prison inmates.  The conditions are especially grave in the Gldani Penitentiary Establishment # 8.  “Brutal treatment is still used as a method of punishment.  Aside from beating and torturing prisoners, they are punished for any noise or conversation, which is considered to be breach of rules”, Natia Imnadze said.

The full version of the report will be published and submitted to Parliament in March.