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Akhalaia demands that Subari held criminally responsible for his actions

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, Octobder 7
Former Minister of Defense and later Interior Minister, Bacho Akhalaia, who is now in detention, demands the current Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance, Sozar Subari, be held criminally responsible for his role in recording his conversations in his cell, which was aired by the Information Centre of Kakheti (ICK) on October 3.

Akkhalaia claims that he had no information that the prison administration was carrying out video-audio surveillance on him and his guests.

“The audio materials confirm that my talks with the lawyers, with the parliament members, [and] with the members of the monitoring commission were listened to,” Akhalaia said, stressing that it was a violation of the law and thus, Minister Subari should answer for that.

Subari responded by saying that the surveillance was legal and shifted more attention to the ways of spreading the videos out of the prison walls.

“The fact that the footage was spread is already a violation of the legislation, as it violates rights of confidentiality,” Subari said, stressing that the investigation will reveal the answer to this question.

More detailed information why the process was legal was delivered by the webpage of the ministry.

The Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance claims that Akhalaia was informed about the electronic surveillance on him and that there is his signature on the appropriate protocol.

“The third part of Article 9 of the Code of Imprisonment says that visual-electronic control may be used for the security of inmates or other individuals. According to Article 54 of the same code, the prison administration has the right to use audio-visual, electronic and other technical means in obtaining essential information regarding the behavior of inmates, and for avoiding escapes and violations,” the ministry explains, adding that the video footage would be sent to the Prosecutor’s Office.

Lawyers of Akahalaia emphasize that the former minister agreed only on visual surveillance. They explained that the visual and video-audio surveillance very much differ from each other.

“Any type of audio/visual surveillance requires permission from the court, the ministry will not have such permission,” lawyer Romeo Sajaia, stated.

Fellow lawyer, Goga Oniani states that the lack of permission is a violation of the law. “The fact that the minister was informed over the issue means that the crime was committed through the organization of the minister,” Oniani said. The lawyers stated that in many cases the accusers were aware of the steps of the defense side. He thinks they linked the fact to the surveillance.

Parliamentary minority member, Akaki Minashvili stated that Akhalaia’s current situation is a “brilliant” sign of how the new Georgian government violates human rights.

“The defense of human rights promised by the Georgian Dream coalition turned out to be as false as the rest of their promises,” Minashvili said.

The head of the Democratic Initiative of Georgia and former Public Defender, Giorgi Tughushi, stated that if the ministry really has the permission issued by the court concerning the surveillance, the ministry should show it to the public.

He stressed that the visual control on the detained is permitted. However, listening to the talks in the cell, the visits of MPs, monitoring members, lawyers and even the public defender’s office representatives is unacceptable.

The webpage of the Prosecutor’s Office reads that investigation over the issue has been launched.