Additional criminal charges have been filed against former defense minister and ex-head of prison system Bacho Akhalaia, who is in pre-trial detention since November 2012.
New charges of torture and exceeding official powers involve allegations that Akhalaia, as prosecutor’s office said, “mercilessly beaten” six prisoners in January, 2006 when Akhalaia served as head of the penitentiary system.
A statement released on behalf of Akhalaia on January 13 denies new charges as “fabricated”, which, it says, aim at further extending Akhalaia’s pre-trial detention.
Since he was arrested in November, 2012 Akhalaia stood in three separate trials; in two of them he was acquitted on charges of exceeding official powers, illegal confinement and torture in four separate cases. But in late October, 2013 he was found guilty in a trial over inhuman treatment of inmates in 2006 when he served as prison system chief; he was sentenced to 3 years and 9 months in jail; but then President Saakashvili pardoned him. Despite of presidential pardon, Akhalaia still remains in detention as he still faces power abuse charges in case related to his tenure as prison system chief in which he is in pre-trial detention pending trial.