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Probe launched after 32 year old dies during detention

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, October 30
The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia (POG) has launched an investigation under Article 116§1 of the Criminal Code of Georgia into a possible case of negligence by police officers after a 32 year old, Paata Pavliashvili, died while being detained.

The incident happened on Nutsubidze Slope, Tbilisi on October 25, 2017. As eyewitnesses report, the deceased verbally abused the police officers while they were detaining his neighbor. After this the police officers decided to arrest him; however, according to the witnesses, the deceased resisted and repeated several times that he was unwell.

“The police officers did not pay attention to his words. They threw him on the ground and put handcuffs on him. When they finished, the man was dead,” one of his neighbors told Rustavi 2 TV.

Shortly after the incident, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) released a statement, saying the police officers acted within the law, adding that the man was aggressive and resisted them.

The MIA also released some videos wherein the neighbors of the deceased say the death of 32 year old was not the fault of the policemen, adding that he had psychological problems, consumed some psychotropic substances and, used to drink very often.

The release of videos by the MIA was followed by harsh criticism from a number of Georgia’s Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), which state that the police is trying to create a negative impression of the deceased.

A lawyer of the Human Rights Monitoring and Education Center (EMC), Guram Imnadze says, it is a big problem when law enforcers emphasize the fact that the deceased was under the influence of alcohol and consumed psychoactive substances.

“The police shoulder cameras would have recorded what really happened during the detention. The public should see the investigation is transparent,” he stated, adding the case has to be qualified correctly.

He stressed that the creation of an independent investigative body is necessary to investigate similar cases in which law enforcers are involved.

“The systemic problem is the absence of this mechanism and it needs adequate response from the state,” said Imnadze.

The Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) protects the rights of the family of the deceased.

GYLA lawyer Levan Vepkhvadze says the family wants to establish the objective truth because there are many question marks around this case.

“It is important that the Prosecutor’s Office periodically informed the family about the case’s details. They have to answer the questions of the family,” the lawyer added.

The Public Defender of Georgia, Ucha Nanuashvili, is also interested in case.

The Prosecutor’s Office reports that patrol police officers, eyewitnesses and members of the family of the deceased person have already been questioned.

“Every necessary investigative action and procedure will be carried out effectively and as soon as possible. The public will be informed about further results of the investigation,” the statement of the POG reads.

The deceased Paata Pavliashvili left behind a wife and two children.