Cablegate: Communication From Special Rapporteur On Torture

R 251619Z AUG 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Mission has received a communication from the Special
Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. This
communication is number 48 on the Geneva 2008 Communications
Log. The letter is dated 21 August, 2008.

2. Begin text of letter:

Excellency, I have the honour to address you in my capacity
as Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment pursuant to General
Assembly resolution 60/251 and to Human Rights Council
resolution 8/8.

In this connection, I would like to bring to your
Government's attention information I have received concerning
Correctional Emergency Response Teams (CERT Teams) in Georgia
State prisons. According to the allegations received:

"Numerous instances have been documented between 2003 and
2006 relating to beatings meted out on inmates by
Correctional Emergency Response Teams (CERT) in Georgia
prisons. The prisons identified, include Valdosta State
Prison, Rogers State Prison, Augusta State Medical Prison,
Costal State Prison, Ray James Prison, Georgia State Prison,
Telfair State Prison, Autry State Prison, Bostic State
Prison, Calhoun State Prison, Georgia Diagnostic and
Classification Prison, Lee State Prison, Macon State Prison,
Pulaski State Prison, Rivers State Prison, Philips State
Prison, Hayes State Prison.

The CERT Teams, with the knowledge and acquiescence of the
prison administrations, including medical staff, allegedly
carry out severe summary punishment of physical beatings on
inmates while they are restrained handcuffed behind their
backs. The prisoners are kicked, slapped, as well as beaten
with black leather gloves padded on the knuckles, which are
issued by the Georgia Department of Corrections.

In addition to the beatings, various techniques are also used
as summary punishment. Known as the "Georgia motorcycle",
stripped inmates are strapped onto an iron bed or chair with
four or five point restraints for 24 or more hours, often
without food, water, or bathroom breaks. A football helmet
is put on their heads to keep them from beating their
unrestrained heads in frustration. Another technique, the
"Georgia g-string", consists of a chain run through the
buttocks and crotch of a stripped inmate and tightly cinched
up for varying lengths of time."

While I do not wish to prejudge the accuracy of these
allegations, I should like to appeal to your Excellency's
Government to seek clarification of the circumstances
regarding the above case. I would like to stress that each
Government has the obligation to protect the right to
physical and mental integrity of all persons. This right is
set forth inter alia in the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

I would also like to draw your Government's attention to
paragraph 1 of Human Rights Council Resolution 8/8 which
"Condemns all forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment, which are and shall remain
prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever and can
thus never be justified, and calls upon all Governments to
implement fully the prohibition of torture and other cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

I urge your Government to take all necessary measures to
guarantee that the rights and freedoms of the aforementioned
persons are respected and that accountability of any person
guilty of the alleged violations is ensured. I also request
that your Government adopts effective measures to prevent the
recurrence of these acts.

Moreover, it is my responsibility under the mandate provided
to me by the Human Rights Council, to seek to clarify all
cases brought to my attention. Since I am expected to report
on these cases to the Human Rights Council, I would be
grateful for your cooperation and your observations on the
following matters:

1. Are the facts alleged in the above summary of the case

2. Has a complaint been lodged?

3. Please provide the details, and where available the
results, of any investigation, medical examinations, and
judicial or other inquiries which may have been carried out
in relation to this case. If no inquiries have taken place,
or if they have been inconclusive, please explain why.

4. In the event that the alleged perpetrators are identified,
please provide the full details of any prosecutions which
have been undertaken; Have penal, disciplinary or
administrative sanctions been imposed on the alleged
5. Please indicate whether compensation has been provided to
the victim or the family of the victim.

I would appreciate a response within sixty days. I undertake
to ensure that your Government's response to each of these
questions is accurately reflected in the report I will submit
to the Human Rights Council for its consideration.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest
consideration, Manfred Nowak. End text of letter.



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