Prosecutors have added torture charges against former interior and defense minister, Bacho Akhalaia, chief prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili said on November 13.
Akhalaia, who is held in pre-trial dentition pending investigation, was initially charged with “exceeding official powers” involving an allegation of abuse of soldiers in October, 2011; later he was charged with “illegal deprivation of freedom” involving an allegation of beating a man and then holding him in illegal confinement for several hours in September, 2011.
Under the newly filed charges prosecutors accuse Akhalaia of inhuman treatment of at least seventeen army personnel in February, 2010 when Akhalaia was Defense Minister. Former Chief of Joint Staff of the Armed Fores, Brig. Gen. Giorgi Kalandadze, who already faces criminal charges into a separate case of alleged abuse of soldiers, was also involved in this February, 2010 incident, chief prosecutor, Archil Kbilashvili, said. Kalandadze was commander of the land forces at that time.
According to prosecutor's office after seventeen servicemen from National Guard's logistics company refused to take part in morning workout on the grounds that they were drivers who worked night shift, they and two platoon leaders were taken from Tbilisi to Senaki military base in western Georgia, where Akhalaia and Kalandadze "insulted them verbally and physically"; the servicemen were then locked up for at least 36 hours in a bathroom without heating and food.
Chief prosecutor said that in connection to this incident, charges on two additional counts were brought against Akhalaia - one involving illegal confinement, which carries a prison term from seven to ten years in prison, and another one torture committed by an official against more than two individuals, which carries a prison term from nine to fifteen years.
Additional charges of exceeding official authority were brought against Kalandadze, who already faces similar charges in connection to a separate incident.
Kbilashvili said that because new charges were brought against Kalandadze, the prosecutor's office filed a motion asking court to put former army chief of staff in pre-trial detention pending investigation.
Prosecutor's office wanted pre-trial detention for Kalandadze when he was charges into the separate case of alleged abuse of soldiers in October, 2011, but Tbilisi City Court released Kalandadze on GEL 20,000 bail.