Prosecutor’s Office said on December 29 that criminal charges had been filed against former Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili in connection to “organizing inhuman treatment of inmates”.
Charges were brought in absentia against Adeishvili, who left the country after the parliamentary elections.
The case is related to a prison abuse scandal, which broke out in September in the midst of heated campaign period after the television stations aired graphic video footage showing beating and raping prisoners with objects in Gldani prison No.8 in Tbilisi.
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 the same prison; the Interior Ministry claimed at the time that the prison guards were bribed by Georgian Dream to beat inmates and to record it on video for the purpose of discrediting the authorities ahead of elections.
Prosecutor’s Office said in its statement on December 29 that the footage disseminated by the Interior Ministry in September was part of a plot, which aimed at building false narrative about prisoners’ abuse. It claimed that then Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili learned that video recordings of widespread abuse in prisons were obtained by a former prison guard, Vladimer Bedukadze, who fled the country and who was intending to make those videos public. Knowing about Bedukadze’s intentions, the Prosecutor’s Office claims, Adeishvili tried to act preemptively and ordered on September 17 then head of the penitentiary department Davit Tchakua to organize inmates’ abuse, to film it and to then release it publicly to portray it as Georgian Dream-ordered staged abuse of prisoners.
Criminal charges brought against Adeishvili, who was an influential member of President Saakashvili’s government, include abuse of power by an official, carrying fine or prison term of up to five years; abuse of power with use of violence and with humiliating victim’s dignity, carrying prison term of up to eight years; inhuman treatment by an official, carrying prison sentence of up to six years; provoking a crime, carrying prison term of up to three years and fabricating evidence, carrying prison sentence of up to six years.