Tbilisi City Court ordered on Sunday pre-trial detention of former deputy chief prosecutor, Davit Chkhatarashvili, who was arrested on December 7.
Chkhatarashvili, who was deputy chief prosecutor in 2010-2012, was charged with abuse of power, organizing inhuman treatment of inmates, fabricating evidence and provoking crime.
Former justice minister Zurab Adeishvili faces similar charges in the same case, which is related to a prison abuse scandal, which broke out in September 2012 ahead of the parliamentary elections when television stations aired graphic video footage of inmates’ abuse. But few hours before those images were aired on September 18, 2012, the Interior Ministry itself released a video recording showing prison guards mistreating an inmate in prison; at the time the Interior Ministry claimed that the prison guards were bribed by Georgian Dream coalition, which at the time was in the opposition, to beat inmates and to record it on video for the purpose of discrediting the authorities ahead of elections.
Prosecutor’s Office says that the footage disseminated by the Interior Ministry in September 2012 was part of a plot, which aimed at building a false narrative about prisoners’ abuse. It claims that then Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili learned that video recordings of widespread abuse in prisons were about to be leaked to the media and ordered deputy chief prosecutor and other officials to organize inmates’ abuse, to film it and to then release it publicly to portray it as Georgian Dream-ordered staged abuse of prisoners. In January, 2013 court ordered pre-trial detention of Adeishvili in absentia; Adeishvili, who left Georgia after the 2012 parliamentary elections, was put on Interpol’s wanted list upon the Georgian authorities’ request.
Murtaz Zodelava was at the time chief prosecutor and Chkhatarashvili was his deputy. Zodelava attended on December 8 court hearing; he told journalists that he was present because Chkhatarashvili is his friend.
The prosecutor’s office said on December 7 that investigation into the case is still ongoing to identify “others, who were involved in the crime.”