Public Defender’s Statement on Ioseb Gogashvili Case
Considering the high public interest, the Public Defender would like to inform the public about the results of examination of the case of Ioseb Gogashvili.
Ioseb Gogashvili and his lawyers made a statement on August 11, 2022 regarding the threats made in Penitentiary Establishment No. 12. According to them, Gogashvili was threatened in the bathroom while talking to the Minister of Internal Affairs on a cell phone.
The defendant confirmed the mentioned information during a personal interview with the representative of the Public Defender and indicated the specific time periods of the criminal acts from July 28 to August 5, 2022. The Public Defender called on the Special Investigation Service to launch an investigation and on the same day requested to archive the recordings of the cameras installed on the relevant perimeter of Penitentiary Establishment No. 12.
In a letter of 23 August 2022, the Special Penitentiary Service informed the Public Defender’s Office that on the dates indicated, the recording devices were out of order in Penitentiary Establishment No. 12, which is why the request of the Public Defender’s Office regarding the archiving of video recordings could not be fulfilled.
The Public Defender believes that the reliability of the above response of the Special Penitentiary Service raises certain questions and, at the same time, calls into question the protection of physical safety of the prisoner, who should have been under electronic surveillance for 24 hours. At the same time, it is worth noting that the Public Defender's Office requested the archiving of the recordings of the cameras covering quite a large area (Ioseb Gogashvili's movement route, cell, shared space and corridor). According to the response received, a large part of the video surveillance recording system of Establishment No. 12 is not functioning, which calls into question the effectiveness of the management of the penitentiary establishment and the safety of prisoners.
Accordingly, the Public Defender calls on the Special Investigation Service to study, within the framework of the investigation, the reasons for the malfunctioning of cameras during the above-mentioned period, in order to rule out or confirm the suspicion that the cameras were artificially damaged or the relevant records were deleted.
We would also like to inform the public that in order to fully study the materials of the case of Ioseb Gogashvili, the Public Defender applied to the Prosecutor General of Georgia and requested exceptional access to the case materials. Unfortunately, by letter No. 13/53158 of 23 August 2022, the request was rejected. Thus, the Public Defender’s Office will have appropriate legal reaction after receiving the case materials from the defence.