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Family of detained man accuses police of misdeeds

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, September 24
The family of the recently detained Tengiz Eristavi is going to hold rallies if police fail to offer him fair terms.

Eristavi was detained on September 17. According to the police, he was in possession of 7 Subutex pills. However, the suspect’s mother claims that his son did not have any drugs and it was the police officers who put the drugs in his pocket. Eristavi has a previous criminal record.

The family does not rule out the detention being linked to the murder of Lasha Makharadze on September 2 on Abashidze Street. Eristavi’s family members confirm that Tengiz Eristavi and Lasha Abashidze were friends.

Human Rights Defender Nana Kakabadze states that she has confidential information based on which the police have a list of 72 men who should be detained shortly.

Kakabadze says that the people have some influence in their regions, villages or towns and the police wants them captured. Kakabadze says that 12 men from the list have already been detained, Eristavi is among them.

Head of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), Kakha Kozhoridze states that “We have no evidence that the police planted drugs on an individual. However, there are cases when some people call us and tell us that someone might be detained and police might use illegal methods,” Kozhoridze said, adding that the organization is handling Eristavi’s case.

Kozhoridze states that various questions remain about the case and that the organization is drafting an appeal for the Prosecutor’s Office. He states that the individual was going to the Probation Bureau when he was stopped by police, and according to him, it is unlikely a person would carry illegal drugs with him during such a visit. Kozhoridze also states that the police made no recordings during his apprehension.

The Ministry of Interior Affairs has not yet made any comment over the issue. There is speculation that the increased police activity lately is related to the public concern over the rising crime rate and the poor situation in prisons. The United National Movement has been the current government’s loudest critics. In a recent statement made on September 22, the party stressed that Interior Minister Aleksandre Tchikaidze must attend a meeting at parliament and answer all questions regarding Georgia’s crime rate.

Majority members state that the police are working transparently and cautiously. Vice Parliament Speaker Manana Kobakhidze says that the situation is under control and that the United National Movement wants to spread fear among the people.