Statement Concerning the Death of a Prisoner

The Public Defender of Georgia has started to study the case of the death of the prisoner Jido Pirtskheliani in Rustavi penitentiary institution N6, on 17 August, 2014. He will also monitor the course of investigation.

The prisoner was found by his cell mates in the toilet with wounds on his neck. Unfortunately, he did not survive these wounds.

The protection of life and health of human beings is one of the essential foundations in a democratic society. The State’s positive obligation to protect life and health of an individual gains particular weight with respect to persons deprived of liberty. The State must take all measures reasonably expected of it to ensure protection of life and security of prisoners. Therefore, it is of utmost importance in the given case to establish whether or not all reasonable measures have been taken to safeguard the life of the prisoner Jido Pirtskheliani.

In the view of the Public Defender of Georgia the sole reference to the impermissibility of video surveillance in the toilet contained in the official statement of the Ministry of Corrections does not address the question whether all reasonable measures have been taken. Hence it is necessary to ensure conduct of prompt and thorough investigation. In the meantime, with a view to avoiding any doubts as to the independence and impartiality of the investigation, it is decisive the investigative measures to be carried out directly by the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia. As an ultimate goal, both the family and the public at large should receive reliable answers to all questions arisen.

Besides, the Ministry of Corrections shall give due regard to the facts of infliction of bodily injuries and prisoners going on hunger strike in penitentiary establishments, assess needs of prisoners and consequently, provide appropriate services, among others, ensure access to rehabilitation programs and only in the circumstances of furthering humanitarian assistance, implement the concept of dynamic security. All of the abovementioned is crucial to prevent such tragic occurrences in future and ultimately to safeguard the life and health of prisoners.

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