New torture charges for former Gov't officials

The investigation also revealed new details on the death of three Georgian citizens., 13 Jan 2014 - 15:10, Tbilisi,Georgia

Former Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaia and senior Ministry official Megis Kardava face new charges relating to torture and abuse of authority.

New details about the alleged crimes have been revealed today by the Chief Prosecutors Office.

In addition, the Office claimed the ongoing investigation had revealed a former Government agency was responsible for the suspicious death of three Georgian citizens.

It is alleged the crimes were committed in 2006 when Akhalaia was Head of the Penitentiary Department and Kardava was in charge of #7 prison.

Today, the Chief Prosecutors Office of Georgia alleged Akhalaia and Kardava tortured prisoners in order to gain a confession on an intended prison-break.

An Office spokesperson said Gia Gorgadze, a prisoner at #1 penitentiary institution, informed the prison director that he had been offered an opportunity to escape by other inmates. Instead of agreeing to the escape plan, Gorgadze expressed his readiness to cooperate with the prisons administration.

"Akhalaia met with Gorgadze and said his brother, Shota Gorgadze, would help prison administration prevent the prison-break. Under Akhalais order, Gorgadze phoned his brother and asked him to come to the prison immediately," a Prosecutors spokesperson said.  

"At the time, S. Gorgadze was in Tsalka [a town in southern Georgias Kvemo Kartli region] at his relatives baptizing ceremony with his friends Roman Surmanidze and Marad Artmelidze, the spokesperson said.

S. Gorgadze and his friends arrived in Tbilisi a short time later.

The Prosecutors Office alleged on January 12, 2006, at the Navtlughi bus terminal in Tbilisi, the Department of Constitutional Security were responsible for murdering S. Gorgadze, Surmanidze and Artmeladze.

The Department of Constitutional Security was led by Akhalaias brother Data Akhalaia.

Today, the Prosecutors Office said the trio were killed "in doubtful circumstances.

It was earlier believed the three men were killed for their alleged involvement in the prison break however this has been questioned in the ongoing investigation.

"After the [bus terminal incident] Akhalaia and Kardava phoned Gorgadze and told him his brother had been killed and now they were on their way to the prison to "take care of him," the Office claimed.

After they arrived at the prison, Gorgadze and five other inmates were taken to the courtyard and beaten by Akhalaia, Kardava and riot police with batons and rifle butts.

Later on, the six prisoners were removed from the prison and were forced to get naked and lay down on snowy and muddy ground.

The Chief Prosecutors Office said that Akhalaia then illegally transferred those prisoners to a stricter prison, where they continued to physically abuse them.

The prisoners were told they had been punished for planning a prison-break.

The crimes Akhalaia and Kardava are now accused of is punishable by seven to 15 years imprisonment.

Akhalaia has been detained on separate charges and Kardava is in hiding.