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Amnesty Calls for Probe into Reported Police Violence
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 2 Jun.'11 / 00:27

Amnesty International has again called on the Georgian authorities to investigate all allegations of ill-treatment and police violence during and after dispersal of the protest rally on May 26.

The rights group said it's aware of several injured policemen and death of one police officer, as well as of "numerous and credible reports of violence being perpetrated by protestors."

"But it [the Amnesty International] is concerned that these allegations should not be used as an excuse to ignore the law and international standards on the use of force by police officers" the rights group said in a statement on June 1.

Amnesty International has also called on the authorities to ensure rights of detainees and fair and transparent trials for all of them.

It welcomed the public apology issued by the Interior Ministry to journalists who were injured or prevented from carrying out thier work during the dispersal of the protest.

"However, Amnesty International regrets that the public apology was limited to journalists and did not address violations reported against those participating in the demonstration," it said.

One policeman and at least three protesters died on the night when the rally outside the Parliament was dispersed by the riot police with water cannons, rubber bullets and teargas, shortly after the demonstration’s permit to continue rallying on the Rustaveli Avenue expired.

According to the Interior Ministry none of the deaths were caused by the riot police actions.

The death of a policeman and one protester has been attributed to a car crash when a motorcade, taking several protest leaders, including Nino Burjanadze, away from the protest scene, drove into the crowd.

According to the official version, the death of two other protesters was caused by electrocution on a roof of a shop, close to the protest venue.

The official version of circumstances of death of at least one protester – Nika Kvintradze, who according to the police died of electrocution - however, has been questioned by his friend, who claims that Kvintradze was arrested by the police during the dispersal of the rally; he also claims that he identified his friend on a photo from the protest scene where Kvintradze is handcrafted among other arrested protesters. Although his face is not visible, his friend said he could identify Kvintradze from the dress the man on photo wears.

But after this allegation was leveled, Rustavi 2 TV aired a day-time footage showing Nika Kvintradze and his friend standing at a rally outside the Parliament. Rustavi 2 said the footage was shot on May 25 with Kvintradze wearing a shirt different from the one the man on the photo.

The Interior Ministry said, that although the investigation is not yet concluded into the circumstances of death of Kvintradze and another protester, whose body was also found on a roof of a shop close to the protest venue, a forensic expertise had confirmed these two deaths were caused by electrocution.

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