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RFE/RL Reports: Georgian Prison Abuse Sparks Protests, Political Shake-Up

Screen grab from Georgian prison torture video
Screen grab from Georgian prison torture video
Coming less than two weeks before Georgia's parliamentary elections, graphic videos showing the abuse of inmates have sent shockwaves through the government and across the country. The fallout so far includes the resignation of the prison minister, widespread protests, and accusations of political retribution. Full coverage from Radio Tavisupleba, RFE/RL's Georgian Service, includes:

# In an exclusive interview, the former prison guard who leaked the videos tells RFE/RL that he was "waiting for this moment" to lift the government's "mask of criminal actions." Vladimer Bedukadze also denied allegations that he was paid by the opposition to help discredit the government.

# In addition to Wednesday's resignation of Georgian Prisons Minister Khatuna Kalmakhelidze, Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaia resigned Thursday and three prison guards have been arrested.

# Georgia’s human rights ombudsman Giorgi Tughushi, Human Rights Watch, and others have all expressed concern about overcrowding, “dangerously substandard conditions,” and alleged mistreatment in Georgian prisons. Tbilisi’s Prison No. 8 -- where the graphic video was filmed -- has a particularly bad reputation. It is there that 90 percent of the 144 deaths of prisoners recorded in 2011 took place.

# VIDEO: Students from the Tbilisi State University joined a swelling demonstration in the capital against prison abuse.

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