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Georgian man abused by police to be granted status of victim

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, June 28
Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor, Irakli Shotadze, stated that Shota Pakeliani, who was abused by police during his detention and questioning, will be granted the status of a victim.

Pakeliani, 26, was detained in Tbilisi on 23 March 2017 on charges of purchasing and possessing drugs.

However, soon after the arrest, he was brought to hospital in a coma, suffering from a serious head injury. The Ministry of Internal Affairs released a statement claiming that he was injured while attempting to escape and hide from the police.

“During the police search of Pakeliani, so-called Bio drugs were seized. After the detainee was transferred to the police department, he felt ill and it was necessary to transfer him to the hospital, where he told the doctor that he had taken the so-called Bio drugs,” the Interior Ministry stated on March 31.

The family members and a lawyer of Pakeliani claim that he was beaten by the police while planting drugs on him. He was unconscious for four days.

The City Court imposed 50-day pre-trial detention on Pakeliani on March 30.

Earlier this month, the head of the Police Station of the Samgori–Isani District has been dismissed from his post, after Georgian media outlet Liberali released a video on June 22 showing the abuse of Pakeliani by police officers during taking his testimony.

The footage shows that the policemen make the detained man to take off his clothes in front of other policemen. They also exert psychological pressure on Pakeliani.

The video also brings into question the reliability of police reports on Pakeliani’s arrest, because information in the reports does not correspond with what appears in the video.

An investigation is underway by the Prosecutor's Office under Article 333 of the Criminal Code of Georgia (pertaining to excess of official authority) in connection with the procedures carried out towards the detainee at the police department.

Pakeliani has not been granted the status of victim as of yet.