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Doubts Cast on Police Version of Detainee's Death
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 29 Feb.'12 / 18:21

Death of a 46-year-old man inside police station in Khashuri has triggered a controversy with the police saying that the man died after falling down from stairs and family members and opposition suspecting a foul play.

Solomon (Soso) Kimeridze, a resident of the village of Kvishkheti in Khashuri district in central Georgia, was taken to the police station on February 27 for “an interrogation as an accused” in connection to a robbery case, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

“While going downstairs from the third floor to the second floor of the police station, accused Solomon Kimeridze fell over the handrail into a foyer of the police station’s first floor; as a result he sustained multiple bodily injuries”, the statement reads. “An ambulance was immediately called by police employees and [Kimeridze] was transferred to hospital.”

The ministry said that Solomon Kimeridze, who in the past was convicted for a robbery, “died due to injuries not compatible with life.”

It also said that the case was investigated by the Shida Kartli and Mtskheta-Mtianeti district prosecutor’s office.

The statement was released after the case gained publicity following a report on the Tbilisi-based Maestro TV. The case was also raised by a lawmaker Giorgi Tsagareishvili, who is with Bidzina Ivanishvili’s opposition coalition, during his rebuttal speech to President Saakashvili’s state of the nation address late on February 28. He accused the police of “brutally torturing and killing” Solomon Kimeridze in the police station in Khashuri.

Kimeridze’s family members said that his body had numerous bruises, including on the face and they want to know what happened in the police station. Sozar Subari, ex-public defender now with Ivanishvili’s public movement Georgian Dream, who visited Kimeridze’s family on February 28, said he was sure that the man was “tortured” while in police custody. Subari said, that the police version of Kimeridze’s death “is a fairy-tale that no one believes in. He requested the Georgian public defender to look into the case and to oversee an independent medical examination to find out an exact nature of injuries.

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