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Torture By Law Enforcement Officials In Georgia

UN Expert Finds Torture, Ill-Treatment By Law Enforcement Officials In Georgia

Torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials still exist in Georgia, compounded by an apparent culture of impunity, but the authorities have taken some positive measures to fight the problem, a United Nations expert on torture said today.

In a statement issued following a weeklong visit last week, the UN Commission on Human Rights’ Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, also noted the “deplorable conditions of detention,” primarily for people detained in pre-trial detention facilities of the Ministry of Justice.

“The courts and prosecutors resort almost exclusively to pre-trial detention of accused persons, irrespective of the gravity of alleged offences, contributing to severe problems of overcrowding and strain on the already deteriorating infrastructure,” Mr. Nowak said, adding that recourse to pre-trial detention turns the presumption of innocence on its head.

But he stressed that the authorities at all levels recognized the problems and pointed to positive measures taken by the Government, such as the establishment of monitoring mechanisms to visit places of detention and proposals to amend the criminal code to include torture.

Mr. Nowak based his findings on meetings with officials, substantiated information received from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), visits to places of detention and interviews with detainees.

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