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President Wants Prison Minister Out Over Juvenile Inmate Death
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 9 Oct.'13 / 15:07

Chief of President’s administration, Andro Barnovi, said government should consider political responsibility of minister for penitentiary, Sozar Subari, after 16-year-old boy was found dead in his cell a day after he was placed in prison No.2 in Kutaisi.

The juvenile, who was released from his previous conviction through presidential pardon in late August, was detained on theft charges and placed in Kutaisi prison No.2. Court ordered his release on bail, but was held in custody pending posting bail. He was found dead late on October 7.

“According to preliminary information it was a suicide,” Sozar Subari, prison system minister, said on October 8.

But parents of the boy cast doubt on the official version and suspect foul play, saying that their child had a conflict with makurebeli (a Georgian word that can literally be translated as watcher or observer) – a group of influential prisoners informally overseeing and controlling other inmates, usually with tacit acceptance from prison administration. According to prison officials, the juvenile was placed alone in the cell upon his request.

“I want to call on the government that in the condition when it was promising ‘astonishing’ democracy, I think that the society will welcome if they take responsibility and raise the issue of responsibility of the minister [Subari] not only because he failed to prevent this tragic case, but also because he shows perfunctory attitude towards this case and offers us a version, which he probably himself does not believe,” chief of president’s administration, Andro Barnovi, said.

According to the constitution the President has the right to sack only defense, interior and justice ministers unilaterally without consultations with the PM.

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