TBILISI, 19 September (RIA Novosti)
Protests in Tbilisi over claims that inmates in a Georgian jail have been tortured continue into their second day.
Dachi Tsiguria, one of the protest organizers, lays the blame firmly with Interior Minister Bachana Akhalaia for creating “the criminal justice system we have today. This problem will continue to be an issue until Akhalaia resigns.”
There are local media reports that roads near Tbilisi State University have been blocked by activists.
Religious leaders and politicians have echoed the demonstrators’ calls for Minister Akhalaia to resign.
Georgia’s President, Mikheil Saakashvili has expressed his shock, and said that the guilty parties will be identified and punished.
On Tuesday, Georgia’s Interior Ministry issued a statement saying that incidents of torture had been uncovered at Gldani Prison Number 8. Their investigation revealed that prison staff were responsible for “the inhumane treatment of prisoners, and for filming it.”
The Interior Ministry said this footage was found on a computer in office of the prison’s head of security, along with the sum of $17,000.
The Interior Ministry posted some footage of these incidents on their site, but local media organizations broadcast what they claimed was the full, unedited, footage.
Social media picked up the story, and protests for prisoners’ rights spread through Tbilisi and other Georgian cities overnight.
On Wednesday morning Corrections and Legal Minister Khatuna Kalmakhelidze announced her resignation, saying she “felt responsible” for these incidents.
Ten employees in the criminal justice system have been detained, including the deputy head of the department, and the director of Gldani jail, in association with these charges.
The Interior Ministry previously said that jailed opposition leader Tamaza Tamazashvili had been involved in organizing these incidents.
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