Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), Tbilisi-based legal advocacy and rights group, accused law enforcement agencies of a failure to investigate properly several reported cases of ill-treatment in police custody.
GYLA said it was approached by several people in recent months claiming that they were beaten, and in one case “tortured”, by police officers in Rustavi and Tbilisi.
“Regrettably in all of these cases that we are aware of, investigation was either not opened at all or has not been carried out adequately and effectively. It is obvious that such an approach creates high risk of increasing number of such alleged crimes [by police officers],” GYLA said.
It reported alleged police ill-treatment of six men upon detention by the police in six separate cases in a period between September, 2013 and January, 2014.
In three of these cases, according to GYLA, bodily injuries were substantiated by medical examination of penitentiary system carried out after detainees were transferred to detention facility and in one case by the state forensic agency.
Deputy Interior Minister, Levan Izoria, said that cases reported by GYLA are being probed by the ministry’s internal investigations unit. “Prosecutor’s office has also opened investigation in some of these cases,” he added.
He said that any reported police abuse is reacted “immediately.” “So I call on the non-governmental organizations to refrain from pre-judgment. In this case both the [Interior Ministry’s] general inspectorate and prosecutor’s office will inform us about their findings and those who deserve to be punished will be punished,” Izoria said.