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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                      

Republic of Georgia

Human rights watchdogs and the ombudsman continued to express concern about the abuse of detainees by police, with the ombudsman reporting a recent increase in the number of arrestees who arrive at detention facilities with injuries that may be attributable to police abuse.

[Freedom House Country Report, 2018]

Description: Description: Georgia

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Georgia.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes its report on the ad hoc visit to Georgia

European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment CPT, Strasbourg, 16 June 2022

[accessed 19 June 2022]

[accessed 19 June 2022]

12. The delegation was also concerned to observe obvious signs of the presence of informal prisoner hierarchy, such as typical symbols (in particular, the “Vorovskoy Mir/Thieves World” eight-pointed stars and snarling wolves also known as “Oskals”) visibly placed above cell doors and on cell walls (especially at Prison No. 17).

Further, in all prisons (but again mostly in Rustavi followed by Ksani, the least so in Geguti) there was a clear disparity in conditions between the cells: whilst most of the prisoners had to live in cramped and rather dilapidated accommodation,15 some of the inmates (presumably those occupying higher ranks in prisoner hierarchy) enjoyed relatively comfortable conditions, with more living space,16 refurbished cells (with parquet or tiled floors) and a lot of non-standard equipment (large TV sets, DVDs, hi-fi towers, air conditioning units, kitchen corners, etc.).

Last but not least, a number of inmates confirmed to the delegation the existence of the hierarchy and the collection (or rather extortion) of money (from prisoners but more often their families) for the illegal prisoners’ fund (“obshchak”).17

13. The combination of the above-mentioned factors resulted in a high risk of inter-prisoner violence, intimidation and extortion.

Several prisoners with whom the delegation spoke referred to verbal insults and threats (of physical violence and/or death vis-à-vis themselves and their families) from fellow inmates in the three prisons visited, usually in the context of the prisoner’s incapacity (for lack of money or any relatives capable of paying instead of him) or – rarely – unwillingness to contribute to the “obshchak”.

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on Georgia

Executive Summary, 10 May 2019

[accessed 1 June 2020]

The issue of gravest concern to the CPT was a tendency, observed in several of the prisons visited (especially in Prisons Nos. 3, 6 and 8) to make frequent use of so-called “de-escalation rooms”, for up  to  72  hours,  as defacto punishment. The CPT expressed the view that “de-escalation rooms” should only be used to place, for as short a time as possible (preferably just a few hours), prisoners who  are  agitated  and/or  aggressive,  and  the  whole  procedure  should  be  under  the  authority  of  the doctor,  not  the  custodial  staff.  Any prisoner who remains agitated after several hours must be clinically assessed and, if necessary, transferred to a mental health establishment. Further, the CPT considered  that  prisoners  who  are  not  mentally  disturbed  and  who  violate  internal  regulations should be dealt with using formal disciplinary provisions.

The CPT’s delegation spoke with many persons who were or had recently been in police custody, and received hardly any allegations of ill-treatment by police officers. As previously, no allegations were heard regarding the staff working in temporary detention isolators (TDIs). Furthermore, none of the very few allegations heard could be considered credible, backed by medical evidence and/or referring to recent past. Overall,  the  CPT  received  a  very  positive  impression  of  the  sustained efforts of the Ministry of Internal Affairs aimed at combating police ill-treatment.

Psychiatric establishments -- Although  at Surami  Psychiatric  Hospital the  delegation  received  no  allegations  of  recent  physical ill-treatment  of  patients,  it  noted  that  there  had  been  several  instances  of  serious  physical  ill-treatment  (including  striking  patients  with  sticks)  in  the  recent  past,  the  staff  directly  involved  no longer  being  employed  at  the  establishment.  The clear determination of  the  hospital’s  current management to prevent any such ill-treatment in the future was highlighted positively.

Georgia indicts two South Ossetian officials for Tatunashvili’s torture and murder

Democracy & Freedom Watch DFWATCH, Tbilisi, 15 Jun 2018

[accessed 17 June 2018]

The Georgian Prosecutor’s Office has indicted two South Ossetian officials for involvement in the abduction and torture of a Georgian former soldier in Akhalgori, an enclave under control of the breakaway region.

Davit Gurtsiev, the head of de facto security body in Akhalgori, and Alik Taboev, deputy de facto prosecutor in the same district, were indicted in absentia for abducting and aiding in the torture of Archil Tatunashvili, a former soldier and veteran of the multinational forces in Iraq.

“In the building of the so call Prosecutor Office the Law enforcement officers of Occupied Tskhinvali region, tortured Archil Tatunashvili for participation in the August war in 2008, they inflicted to him more than 100 different types of injuries. Later Archil Tatunashvili passed away,” the statement reads.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Georgia

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 21 July 2021]


As of December the Public Defender’s Office asked the State Inspector’s Service to investigate 40 alleged cases of human rights violations in government institutions, 19 of which concerned violations allegedly committed by Internal Affairs Ministry personnel, 18 involved alleged crimes committed by penitentiary department staff, and one allegedly involved Justice Ministry staff. In two of the 40 requests, the responsible agency was not clear. The State Inspector’s Service opened investigations into 256 cases. Eleven investigations were in response to the Public Defenders Office’s request. The State Inspector’s Service directed five investigations to other investigative agencies and did not identify elements of a crime in four cases. An investigation of one case continued at year’s end.


While overall prison and detention facility conditions were adequate, conditions in some older facilities lacked sufficient ventilation, natural light, minimum living space, and adequate health care. Prison conditions in Russian-occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia were reported to be chronically substandard.


Concerns persisted regarding authorities’ use of administrative detention to detain individuals for up to 15 days without the right to an effective defense, defined standards of proof, and the right to a meaningful appeal.

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 12 May 2020]


Human rights watchdogs and the ombudsman continued to express concern about the abuse of detainees by police, with the ombudsman reporting a recent increase in the number of arrestees who arrive at detention facilities with injuries that may be attributable to police abuse. Violence in prisons remains a problem.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or

[accessed 18 March 2015]


TORTURE, ILL-TREATMENT, AND PRISON CONDITIONS - Lack of accountability for law enforcement officials remained a problem, as Georgia does not have an independent effective mechanism for investigating crimes committed by law enforcements officials.

Additional Torture Charges Filed Against Former Interior Ministry Official

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi, 9 Jan 2014

[accessed 10 Jan 2014]

[accessed 2 January 2019]

According to prosecutor’s office, in early hours of April 5 “beaten and tortured” Kobalia was transferred from Zugdidi to Tbilisi and placed at first in the Interior Ministry’s detention facility and then in prison No.8 in Gldani. Prosecutor’s office said that for six days Kobalia was in a holding cell of the prison, where normally inmates can be held only for few hours. On April 11, 2011, according to prosecutor’s office, Kobalia was again beaten and tutored, including with electric shock, “for hours” by Kardava and then deputy head of the penitentiary department Gaga Mkurnalidze; the latter is now serving a prison term after he was found guilty in a separate case of prisoners’ abuse. Additional charges were also filed against Mkurnalidze in connection to Kobalia’s case. Prosecutor’s office said that Kobalia died in prison later on the same day, April 11, 2011.  

Two other inmates of the same prison, Merab Kolbaia and Koba Matkava, were also tortured together with Kobalia on April 11 as Megis Kardava was demanding from them too to confess in terrorism, prosecutor’s office said.

23rd General Report of the CPT - European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment - 1 August 2012 - 31 July 2013  [PDF]

Council of Europe, Strasbourg, 6 November 2013

[accessed 7 Nov 2013]

46. In contrast with planned or already implemented measures concerning the prison population and estate, the delegation observed that there had been little, if any, progress towards introducing programmes of out-of-cell activities for prisoners. In the two prisons visited, prisoners – both those on remand and sentenced – were locked up in their cells for most of the day, in a state of enforced idleness. The CPT once again calls upon the Georgian authorities to take decisive steps to develop the programmes of activities for both sentenced and remand prisoners, with the aim of ensuring that inmates are able to spend a reasonable part of the day (8 hours or more) outside their cells, engaged in purposeful activities of a varied nature.

Torture Videos Shown to Media, Civil Society Representatives

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi, 20 June 2013

[accessed 21 June 2013]

[accessed 2 January 2019]

The Interior Ministry hosted on June 20 in its headquarters a large group of media and civil society representatives, also including political analysts and commentators, to show them videotapes, which the authorities say, were found in a large arms cache unearthed earlier this week in Samegrelo region, depicting torture of two detainees by law enforcement officers, which according to the Interior Ministry, took place in 2011.

A day earlier the videotapes were shown by the Interior Ministry to a group of Tbilisi-based foreign diplomats.

Videotapes, shown on June 20, contain two separate episodes in which two detainees, whose faces are concealed on the video, are raped and tortured; in one episode law enforcement officers are purportedly trying to obtain confession from the detainee in connection to an alleged terrorism case. Sound was muted on the videos, which have English subtitles.

The Interior Ministry said on June 19 that several persons, among them three acting and one former law enforcement officers and the man accused of sexually abusing two detainees, were arrested in connection to scenes shown on the videotapes.

Sixteen convicted of prisoner torture in Georgia

Rusiko Machaidze, Democracy & Freedom Watch, Tbilisi, 16 June 2013

[accessed 16 June 2013]

A court in Tbilisi determined sixteen persons as guilty of torture of prisoners, humiliation and mistreatment, but recognized Vladmier Bedukadze, the person who released the video footage documenting it, as innocent.

He was freed from criminal responsibility on the grounds of mediation by the prosecutor.

By the decision of the court he is also released from the status of conviction and he will be returned back the USD 1 200 bail on which he was released until trial.

The trial was closed in order to protect the privacy of those concerned.

In late September 2012, footage of prisoner torture was shown in the media, and even though human rights activists and the ombudsman had been reporting about such facts for years, only after releasing the footage was there any reaction. It was followed by a scandal and the first consequence was the resignation of the interior and prison minister.

Thousands of people demonstrated for weeks to support the prisoners and it also had an influence on the results of the parliamentary election on October 1, when President Mikheil Saakashvili’s party was defeated.

Ex minister given further charges of torture

Democracy & Freedom Watch DFWatch staff, 3 March 2013

[accessed 3 March 2013]

[accessed 25 July 2017]

According to this new charge, Akhalaia as interior minister in August 2012 learned that Teimuraz Palavandishvili, Zaza Pantskalashvili, Mamuka Zhvania, Davit Bagratishvili, Mikheil Edisherashvili, Samvel Bazoiani and Arsen Mkrtumiani, employees of the Interior Ministry, were dissatisfied with Saakashvili’s government and supported the opposition coalition Georgian Dream.

He and Davit Vekua, chairman of the first department of the ministry, verbally and physically abused them. Afterward, they were taken to an education center for special operations and there they were beaten for few days, because they supported Bidzina Ivanishvili and his political alliance.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the crime is made worse by the fact that Akhalaia had ordered those persons fired, so that at the time when they were tortured, they were ordinary citizens, not ministry employees. Former sergeants whose contracts with the defense ministry were no longer in force participated in the torture. They were also ordinary citizens at the time and it was illegal to bring them to the education center.

“These persons were tortured, humiliated and mistreated at the Iaghluja training base from August 19 to September 21, 2012. During this period, Davit Vekua a few times visited the education center and beat all of them, humiliated and put them in dishonored conditions,” the Prosecutor’s Office statement reads.

A few days earlier, before leaving the base, all seven were warned not to say anything, but lie that they were injured during training. If they told what had happened, their families would be terrorized, they were threatened.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/GEO/CO/3 (2006)

[accessed 27 February 2013]

C.  Subjects of concern and recommendations

9. The Committee remains concerned that despite extensive legislative reforms, impunity and intimidation still persist in the State party, in particular in relation to the use of excessive force, including torture and other forms of ill-treatment by law-enforcement officials, especially prior to and during arrest, during prison riots and in the fight against organized crime (art. 2).

The State party should give higher priority to efforts to promote a culture of human rights by ensuring that a policy of zero tolerance is developed and implemented at all levels of the police-force hierarchy as well as for all staff in penitentiary establishments.  Such a policy should identify and address the problems, and should elaborate a code of conduct for all officials, including those involved in the fight against organized crime, as well as introduce regular monitoring by an independent oversight body.

12. The Committee is also concerned about the relatively low number of convictions and disciplinary measures imposed on law-enforcement officials in the light of numerous allegations of torture and other acts of cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment, as well as the lack of public information about such cases (art. 4).

The State party should strengthen its investigative capacity, including that of the Prosecutor-General’s office, in order to promptly and thoroughly examine all allegations of torture and ill-treatment and to ensure that statistics on convictions and disciplinary measures be regularly published and made available to the public.

17. The Committee is particularly concerned about the high number of sudden deaths of persons in custody and the absence of detailed information on the causes of death in each case.  The Committee is also concerned about the high number of deaths reported from tuberculosis (arts. 6 and 12).

The State party should provide detailed information on the causes and circumstances of all sudden deaths that have occurred in places of detention, as well as information in respect of independent investigations in this connection.  The Committee further encourages the State party to continue its cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross and non-governmental organizations with regard to the implementation of programmes related to the treatment of tuberculosis and distribution and monitoring of the medicines taken in penitentiary facilities throughout its territory.

Investigate Sexual Abuse in Prison

Human Rights Watch, Berlin, September 19, 2012

[accessed 28 January 2013]

Graphic Video Material Points to Need for Accountability

Georgia’s human rights ombudsman has often referred to Gldani Prison No. 8 as one of Georgia’s most problematic prison facilities. In a 2010 report, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture said that former inmates of the Gldani prison alleged that staff had punched, kicked, and struck them with truncheons during the intake process and as punishment for such actions as talking loudly or attempting to communicate with prisoners from other cells. The report also said it found “an uncommon silence” by prisoners the committee met in the prison.


For current articles:: Search Amnesty International Website

[accessed 2 January 1, 2019]

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Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 28 January 2013]

[accessed 4 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices, although they occurred.

NGOs reported law enforcement officers continued to beat, torture, and otherwise abuse detainees during the year. According to information released by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), in the first 6 months of the year, 23 percent of convicts had undergone physical violence at the hands of law enforcement officials, a 3 percent rise in comparison to the same period in 2004. Over a 10-day period in January, monitoring in pretrial detention facilities by the ombudsman's council confirmed that police violence against detainees was at a very high level; the council reported 15 cases of police physically abusing detainees in that period.

In December 2004 the government created a monitoring council under the MOIA to visit detention facilities under the ministry's jurisdiction; members were NGO volunteers who work on torture chosen by the ombudsman's office. To address concerns about abuse in pretrial detention facilities, in April, the MOIA's Human Rights Protection and Monitoring Division was given oversight over all 67 pretrial detention facilities, and authorities created a new registration process for detainees brought to pretrial detention facilities. The registration process required that any indication of physical abuse be noted pursuant to a mandatory physical exam upon the detainee's arrival. Medical exams were also required, and any signs of abuse noted, anytime a detainee was moved to and from facilities. The MOIA's monitoring division was required to investigate all abuse cases. According to the head of the monitoring division, police were not permitted to enter pretrial detention facilities unless they obtained permission from him.

Detainees were reportedly tortured or abused in cars while being taken to a place of detention, in police stations, and in the MOIA. One detainee alleged he was abused during a remand hearing. There were also allegations that several people were attacked on the street by plainclothes security service agents or taken to unpopulated places such as cemeteries or forests and abused.

During the year there were several cases of police officers brought to trial, dismissed, or demoted for abuses; however, impunity remained a problem, particularly in outlying regions (see section 1.d.). NGOs claimed that close ties between the prosecutor general's office and the police hindered their ability to substantiate police misconduct, and believed the continuing lack of professionalism and independence of the judiciary made it unresponsive to torture allegations. As a result, despite positive reforms, NGOs claimed law enforcement officials could still resort to torture or ill treatment with limited risk of exposure or punishment. NGOs also believed a lack of adequate training for law enforcement, as well as low public awareness of the new protections afforded citizens, impeded improvements.

There were still significant obstacles to bringing all cases of torture and ill treatment to light. NGOs reported victims often did not report abuse, fearing police retribution against them or their families. According to AI, the ombudsman's office was aware of several cases of apparent abuse, but detainees--who had visible injuries--later refused to report abuse or withdrew their earlier complaint. In May representatives from the ombudsman's monitoring group were present when an individual arrived at a pretrial detention facility with injuries. The representatives interviewed him, made a record of his injuries, and forwarded the case to the general prosecutor's office for investigation. According to his lawyer, the man then refused to cooperate in the investigation, fearing there would be retaliation against his family.

No charges were brought against suspects in the investigation into allegations that police subjected Irakli Tushishvili to electric shock in MOIA custody. Tushishvili was reportedly released in 2003.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 4   Civil Liberties: 4   Status: Partly Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 28 January 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 12 May 2020]

The police force has improved its performance since the government dismissed half of its personnel in 2004 as part of an anticorruption overhaul. Among other results, the reforms led to a virtual eradication of corrupt vehicle stops by police to extract bribes from motorists—previously a part of daily life and still prevalent in nearly all other former Soviet republics. However, human rights ombudsman Sozar Subari has repeatedly accused the police of abusing and torturing detainees, and prison conditions in Georgia remain grim.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Georgia",, [accessed <date>]