Anfragebeantwortung zu Georgien: Haftbedingungen [a-7928-4 (7931)]

22. März 2012
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Human Rights Watch (HRW) berichtet im Jänner 2012 Folgendes zu Haftbedingungen in Georgien:
„Overcrowding in prisons remains a problem, leading to poor prison conditions. The Ombudsman’s Office documented numerous cases of ill-treatment in prisons. In prison No. 2 in Kutaisi, inmates are forced to spend up to 24 hours in an empty two to three square meter cell wearing only their underwear as punishment for prison rules violations. The ombudsman called on the prosecutor’s office to investigate.
In a June report, Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe commissioner for human rights, welcomed the government’s efforts to reform the justice system, but urged the authorities to adopt a more human rights oriented criminal justice policy.“ (HRW, 22. Jänner 2012)
Das US-Außenministerium (US Department of State, USDOS) nimmt in seinem Länderbericht vom April 2011 detailliert auf Haftbedingungen in Georgien Bezug:
„Conditions in many prison and pretrial detention facilities remained poor and did not meet international standards. The PDO, the CPT, and many NGOs including Human Rights Watch (HRW) continued to report that while newly constructed facilities met international standards, old facilities still in use were inhuman and exposed detained persons to life-threatening conditions, including poor facilities, overcrowding, and inadequate health care. Most prison and pretrial detention facilities lacked adequate sanitary facilities.
In its September 21 report on conditions found during its February 5 to 15 visit to the country, the CPT noted that, although there were no allegations of mistreatment of patients by staff, the ‘ever deteriorating’ state of the Asatiani Psychiatric Institute in Tbilisi created conditions ‘easily described as inhuman and degrading.’ While the CPT noted that the government had taken action to prevent mistreatment of prisoners, it cited mistreatment at Prison No. 8 in Tbilisi (Gldani), Penitentiary Establishment No. 7 in Ksani, and Penitentiary Establishment No. 8 in Geguti as particular problems. In its 2009 National Preventive Mechanism Report, the PDO noted that in some penitentiaries sanitary-hygienic conditions and overcrowding were poor enough to amount to inhuman and degrading treatment.
According to Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance data, during the year 75 convicts died in prison compared with 92 in 2009 and 94 in 2008. Of the 75 deaths, five were suicides, one resulted from carbon monoxide inhalation from a fire in Ksani Prison No. 15, and the others were due to illness.
The 2009 National Preventive Mechanism Report recounted the case of a prisoner who committed suicide in December 2009 in Kutaisi Prison No. 2. The PDO called for a special investigation into the suicide because there was evidence of physical abuse inflicted on the body before the suicide. According to the PDO, on May 31, the investigation into the criminal case was suspended.
Many prisons were severely short of medical facilities, including equipment and medicine. The 2009 National Preventive Mechanism Report noted that inequality between the national healthcare system and healthcare in the penitentiary system violated international standards. Medical care was also provided unequally in penitentiaries in different geographical areas. Prisons administrators were not able to provide comprehensive emergency services. The PDO reported that during the year many prison doctors were terminated from their positions for not providing adequate service to inmates, and most prisoner deaths during the year were due to tuberculosis. The PDO criticized the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance for a lack of adequate healthcare.
Since 2008 the Penitentiary Department has been overseen by the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance, and the unit responsible for monitoring penitentiary establishments has been located in the General Inspection Department of that ministry.
According to Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance, the inmate population continued to grow, increasing overcrowding. During the year inmate population was 23,511 as compared with 21,239 in 2009 and 18,528 in 2008. The law defines three categories of penitentiaries: common regime, strict regime, and prison. Inmates were assigned to facilities depending on their crimes, with first-time offenders and persons convicted of less serious crimes assigned to common regime establishments; recidivists and those who committed graver crimes were assigned to strict regime establishments or prisons.
The law sets the standard living space per prisoner as 22 square feet in common and strict regime establishments, 27 square feet in prisons, 32 square feet in the women's colony, 37 square feet for juveniles, and 32 square feet in medical facilities. According to the NPM 2009 report, overcrowding remained a problem, and eight facilities were overcrowded.
International organizations that monitor prison conditions pointed out that the country's space standards for prisoners did not meet international standards. The CPT found that overcrowding was ‘rife’ in several of the prisons that it visited.
NGO Empathy reported that in September the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance moved some juvenile offenders to Prison Facility No. Eight and that this facility did not meet international standards for juvenile justice including an adequate courtyard for exercise. The Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance reported that a new facility for female inmates, including female juveniles, opened during the year and a new administrative building was constructed to improve prison conditions at Juvenile Facility No. 11. During the year 70 juveniles participated in new rehabilitation programs including computer classes. Since its merger with the Ministry of Justice, the Prosecutor's Office appeared more flexible in following more progressive criminal justice practices, including piloting a juvenile diversion program during the year.
The presidential administration sought to use early release of certain convicts to reduce the size of the prison population. According to the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance, the president pardoned 1,299 convicts during the year. In 1,115 cases, the prisoners were released from prison; in 154 the sentences were halved; in 18 the convict was released from a conditional sentence; and in 12 instances, prison sentences were shortened. In 2009 990 persons received pardons and in 2008 the number was 2,804.
Plea bargains were also used as a tool to try to alleviate prison overcrowding (see section 1.e.). During the year test cases began in the implementation of alternative sentencing for juvenile offenders. On October 1, a new code of imprisonment went into effect and councils for early release, akin to parole boards, were created. Three new prisons opened during the year that met European standards for living conditions.
A working unit of the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance continued to oversee implementation of a code of conduct for penitentiary employees modeled after European practices. According to the ministry, during the year there were 156 cases of violation of discipline by officers in various penitentiaries compared with 263 in 2009 and 179 in 2008. Violations resulted in various degrees of punishment including notices (18 cases), reprimand (108), severe reprimand (27), demotion (two), and dismissal (one). The ministry reported that the most common reason for disciplinary action was abuse of authority.
On July 21, parliament amended the law to grant the public defender the right to make nonbinding recommendations to law enforcement agencies that they investigate allegations of human rights violations, including those involving abuse of prisoners. Government agencies have 10 days to respond to the public defender's recommendation. Agencies that decide not to open an investigation as recommended by the public defender are required to submit a written justification of their decision to the PDO within 15 days. The amendment was intended to force government agencies to justify publicly any failure to investigate allegations and to improve response times to the PDO. The PDO reported that its communications with most governmental institutions improved; however, there continued to be cases of late or inadequate responses, and the PDO was doubtful if the improvement was directly related to the amendment.
On December 30, the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance eliminated its requirement that members of the clergy from confessions other than the Georgian Orthodox Church seek that church's permission to counsel or visit prisoners. Members of the Muslim and Baptist communities had reported having trouble obtaining the Georgian Orthodox Church's permission for such visits during the year.
While there were Georgian Orthodox chapels in most prisons, there were no specific nondenominational areas for worship; some minority religious leaders complained that members of their communities were unable to worship in the prisons during their holidays due to a lack of appropriate space. However, a new order issued on December 10 under article 2 of the Code of Imprisonment explicitly provides for the religious worship of prisoners and detainees, including worship space, the right to meet with clergy of any confession, and the right to have religious items.
Authorities permitted prisoners to submit complaints to judicial authorities, such as PDO representatives, as well as NGOs, international organizations, and lawyers, without censorship and request investigations of inhuman conditions. Authorities opened investigations into such allegations; however, in many case they never officially completed their investigations, filed charges, or took other disciplinary action against officials alleged to have committed abuses.
The government permitted independent monitoring of prison conditions by international organizations, local and international human rights groups, and the media. Such monitoring occurred during the year. The ICRC had full access to prisons and detention facilities in undisputed Georgia and some access to facilities operated by the de facto authorities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia to monitor conditions of incarceration and treatment of all prisoners and detainees. The ICRC also supported health programs in prisons and detention centers.
Prison conditions in the two separatist regions were chronically substandard, although overcrowding reportedly was not a problem. According to press reports, in February a Georgian prisoner, Demur Gogokhia, died in Dranda prison. Abkhazian de facto officials reported that the cause of death was an infectious disease, but the Georgian media reported allegations that he had died from the effects of repeated torture. On June 25, an ethnic Georgian, Besik Anjaparidze, reportedly died in an Abkhaz jail four days after his arrest by de facto officials who cited a heart attack as the cause of death, but the Georgian government alleged he died as the result of physical abuse while in custody.“ (USDOS, 8. April 2011, Section 1c)
Weitere Informationen über Haftbedingungen finden sich in Abschnitt 1c des Länderberichts des USDOS zu Folter und weiterer grausamer, unmenschlicher oder degradierender Behandlung oder Bestrafung:
„c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
[…] On December 15, the PDO released a statement describing the National Preventive Mechanism's (NPM) monitoring for the first half of the year, which reported that instances of prison employees and police officers mistreating detained and imprisoned individuals continued. The PDO also noted that police quite frequently used excessive force when detaining persons. The PDO stated that investigations into allegations of mistreatment were inadequate and ineffective. However, the statement also noted that, unlike in penitentiaries and police stations, there were almost no cases of mistreatment in pretrial detention facilities.
The NGO Empathy reported that on April 6, police officers in Telavi beat a minor in their custody, denied him access to water, food, or washroom facilities, and refused to allow him to contact his family or a lawyer. Empathy reported that the Telavi prosecutor's office initiated a criminal investigation, but the only information about its progress at year's end was that the case had been transferred to the Isani-Samgori prosecutor's office.
During the year an Armenian NGO reported that Vahagn Chakhalian, an ethnic Armenian serving a 10-year sentence in the Rustavi prison for an attempted 2006 break-in at the Akhalkalaki municipal building (see section 6), complained to the PDO that on April 30, prison guards beat him. The Ministry of Justice asserted on June 15 that medical experts found no evidence of mistreatment and that his cellmate denied seeing any signs of physical abuse. On June 23, during a visit with PDO representatives, Chakhalian signed a statement denying any complaints against the prison administration and refusing any PDO assistance. The NGO claimed that the PDO was biased on this issue.
The PDO investigated the possible mistreatment of Neli Naveriani during her arrest in Mestia on July 7. The PDO representative who visited her at the Zugdidi penitentiary noted bruising on her arm, and Naveriani confirmed that she received the bruises from police officials. The deputy prosecutor in Zugdidi stated that Naveriani received the bruises while resisting arrest. On July 21 and November 17, the PDO requested that the Chief Prosecutor open an investigation into the case; however, by year's end no response was received.
On August 17, the PDO called on the chief prosecutor to investigate the observed injuries on Irakli Kakabadze's, arms and shoulders after his arrest on August 14. According to the PDO, Kakabadze, a dual U.S.-Georgian citizen, stated he received the injuries from the chief of the Tbilisi patrol police and his deputy. The PDO noted that the injuries were reported in the detention center's protocol. The Ministry of Internal Affairs claimed their investigation found no signs of mistreatment or disciplinary or criminal violations; that Kakabadze could not identify the perpetrators; and that his further questioning was hampered since he left Georgia on August 18. On October 27, the PDO made another request to the chief prosecutor; however, by year's end no response was received (see sections 1.d. and 2.b.).
The NGO Human Rights Priority reported that, on August 19, prison guards severely beat prisoners at Prison No. Seven in Ksani with sticks. According to Human Rights Priority, prison authorities singled out prisoner Archil Sakhvadze during the beatings and told him to withdraw the application he had filed with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). On August 31, Sakhvadze was transferred to Prison No. Six in Rustavi. Human Rights Priority reported that a PDO representative visited Sakhvadze and noted his injuries. According to Human Rights Priority, the ECHR sent a letter requesting information on the status of both Sakhvadze's health and the investigation into the allegations. On October 7, a reply was received giving details of Sakhvadze's health and indicating that an investigation into the allegations continued at year's end. According to the PDO and the Ministry of Correction and Legal Assistance, the case was still ongoing at year's end.
On August 27, Dimitri Lortkipanidze from the parliamentary minority reported that the lawyer of Vakhtang Maisaia, who was serving a 29-year sentence for espionage at Tbilisi Prison No. Eight, informed him that prison guards beat Maisaia to force him to end his hunger strike against his detention. Lortkipanidze called on the PDO to investigate the allegation. According to the PDO, the chief prosecutor's office informed them on December 10 that an investigation continued .
An incarcerated non-Georgian citizen reported that guards physically assaulted him during a prison transfer on August 8. The Ministry of Correction and Legal Assistance asserted that it investigated the report of assault against the non-Georgian citizen, which included interrogating witnesses and conducting medical examinations, and concluded that the allegations could not be corroborated. He also reported that during the year he witnessed prison guards randomly choosing inmates for beatings.
There were no developments in the reported May 2009 beating of Nugzar Otanadze. The PDO reported that it never received a response to a request for an investigation from the chief prosecutor's office. According to the Ministry of Justice, the investigation was terminated at Otanadze's request in September 2009.
There were no developments, and none were expected, in the investigation of the allegation that unidentified, masked officers in the Kutaisi Jail and Strict Regime Institution No. Two, beat 12 juvenile prisoners in July 2009. The investigation department of the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance continued its investigation of the allegation of use of excessive force at year's end.
According to the PDO and human rights monitors, the incidence of abuse in police stations remained low, due to continued, unannounced, random monitoring of stations. However, the PDO reported in June that physical injuries were observed very frequently on persons upon admission to police detention facilities, and the number of such cases had increased. The public defender stated in a June 26 speech that officials who conducted investigations into allegations of torture often mischaracterized such acts as abuse of official power, which carried a far lighter sanction.
The PDO reported that it received three complaints during the year that police officers physically abused persons in detention, and that its last monitoring of pretrial detention facilities, conducted in December, found no cases of physical injuries. However, the PDO stated that accurate statistics do not exist given that an investigation is only launched upon a victim's request. The PDO reported that investigations into allegations made during the year were either dismissed or ongoing at year's end.
In a September 21 report on its February 5-15 visit to the country, the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) reported receiving a few allegations of police physically mistreating persons in their custody. Most involved excessive use of force (for example, punches and kicks) at the time of apprehension, but there were also allegations of mistreatment during questioning. For example, one person alleged that following his apprehension in early February, he spent a night in an office at a district police station in Tbilisi where police officers repeatedly hit and kicked him to compel him to confess to a crime. Another person alleged that following his apprehension, officers took him to the Department of Constitutional Security of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, where he was hit with clubs and kicked. However, the CPT report concluded that ‘the situation as regards the treatment of persons detained by police in Georgia has considerably improved in recent years.’ […]
NGOs and the PDO reported that victims often failed to report abuse due to fear of retribution by police or prison authorities against them or their families. NGOs also continued to claim that close ties between the Prosecutor General's Office and police hindered the ability of NGOs to substantiate police misconduct. NGOs alleged that the judiciary's lack of professionalism and independence made it unresponsive to allegations of mistreatment. As a result, despite implementation of positive reforms, NGOs claimed law enforcement officials could still mistreat persons with limited risk of exposure or punishment. NGOs also believed a lack of adequate training for law enforcement officers, as well as low public awareness of the protections afforded citizens, impeded improvements.
The PDO noted that monitoring groups found no instances in which police officers incorrectly registered a detainee when they brought him to the police station, which previously had been a means for police officers to conceal abuse. All law enforcement officers and representatives of the Prosecutor's Office, with the exception of officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs' special units (including the Special Operatives Department, the Constitutional Protection Department, and the counterterrorism center), were required to wear identity badges during meetings with detainees and prisoners. Special police units were exempt to protect members' anonymity. NGOs asserted that this protected the personnel of these units from accountability for abuse. […]
In 2008 Zugdidi police officers Data Gvinjilia and Davit Nadaraia arrested Gocha Ekhvaia near Engurkalakkombinad in Zugdidi. Ekhvaia alleged that they forcibly took him from his home after questioning him on the whereabouts of a missing person, beat him, and drove him around before testing him for drugs. Ekhvaia was placed in isolation for seven days of court-ordered administrative detention, during which he lost consciousness and was hospitalized. The Zugdidi regional prosecutor's investigation into allegations of police torture of Ekhvaia continued at year's end.
In September the government's Interagency Coordinating Council against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment adopted a new strategy. The new strategy prioritizes the following areas of needed reform: development of an effective complaints procedure for inmates; development of prompt, impartial, and effective investigations of all allegations of ill-treatment; protection, compensation, and rehabilitation of victims of mistreatment; improvement of internal and external monitoring systems for early detection and prevention of mistreatment in detention facilities; and improvement in the capacity of relevant institutions.
The government's action plan to address torture, mistreatment, and medical care included the PDO as the country's NPM, an institution required under the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and intended to be the lead government agency for monitoring allegations of torture and mistreatment of detainees. It published its first National Preventive Mechanism Report, covering 2009, in June.
In July 2009 parliament amended the law to give the PDO greater responsibility for monitoring prisons and other closed facilities and allow it to draw on outside experts in its monitoring efforts. However, the PDO noted that the Law on the Public Defender does not explicitly state that the NPM can use audio and video equipment. The mechanism follows the regulations established by each institution.” (USDOS, 8. April 2011, Section 1c)
Die Europäische Kommission (EC) berichtet im Mai 2011 Folgendes zu Haftbedingungen in Georgien:
„Inhuman and degrading detention conditions, often caused by overcrowding in prisons, remain a major area of concern, together with inadequate healthcare in prisons, as was also reported by the CPT. The treatment and situation of psychiatric patients is also of concern. Limited progress was noted in the improvement of material conditions in prisons and in police detention establishments, and in the provision of legal aid to persons in police custody. Amendments made to the Criminal Code of Georgia in February and July 2010 represented a positive step towards the liberalisation of criminal policies in Georgia. The implementation of these amendments and a more substantial revision of the criminal legislation and sentencing policies are important to address the problems caused by increasing prison population.” (EC, 25. Mai 2011, S. 5)
Eine Anfragebeantwortung des Refugee Documentation Centre (RDC) vom Februar 2012 enthält ebenso Informationen zu Haftbedingungen in Georgien:
·      RDC – Refugee Documentation Centre (Legal Aid Board): Information on prison conditions [Q14978], 1. Februar 2012 (verfügbar auf
Weitere detaillierte Informationen zu Haftbedingungen finden sich insbesondere auf den Seiten 26 bis 31 des folgenden Berichts von Human Rights Watch (HRW):
·      HRW - Human Rights Watch: Administrative Error; Georgia’s Flawed System for Administrative Detention, 4. Jänner 2012 (verfügbar auf
Das georgische Human Rights Centre (HRC) veröffentlichte im März 2011 einen Bericht zur Menschenrechtslage in Georgien, der auf den Seiten 32 bis 35 einen Überblick zu Haftbedingungen enthält:
·      HRC - Human Rights Centre: Restricted Rights: Annual Human Rights Report for 2010, 14. März 2011

Quellen: (Zugriff auf alle Quellen am 22. März 2012)
·      EC – European Commission: Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2010; Country report: Georgia [SEC(2011) 649], 25. Mai 2011 (verfügbar auf
·      HRC - Human Rights Centre: Restricted Rights: Annual Human Rights Report for 2010, 14. März 2011
·      HRW - Human Rights Watch: World Report 2012, 22. Jänner 2012 (verfügbar auf
·      HRW - Human Rights Watch: Administrative Error; Georgia’s Flawed System for Administrative Detention, 4. Jänner 2012 (verfügbar auf
·      RDC – Refugee Documentation Centre (Legal Aid Board): Information on prison conditions [Q14978], 1. Februar 2012 (verfügbar auf
·      USDOS - US Department of State: Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2010, 8. April 2011 (verfügbar auf