Levan Ioseliani, an MP of the Citizens opposition party in the Parliament, on Friday said it was “no surprise” the European Court of Human Rights had “reaffirmed the systemic crimes” committed by the United National Movement Government in its latest ruling in a case involving a former Georgian prisoner.
The ECHR published its judgment in the case Ochigava v Georgia on Thursday, where the Court found Akaki Ochigava had suffered “systematic acts of ill-treatment” in Gldani Prison No.8 in Tbilisi between June 2011 and August 2012, and pointed to “systematic and widespread” torture and inhuman treatment under the rule of the UNM Government between 2004 and 2012.
In his comments on the decision, the opposition lawmaker stressed previous rulings of the Court had also confirmed such practices under the UNM Government, adding “all of us who live in this country are well-aware of such crimes. There are no question marks that UNM authorities were committing such offences”.
Ioseliani also contrasted the ruling with the recent resolution of the European Parliament that called for the release of the imprisoned former President and UNM founder Mikheil Saakashvili on health grounds, saying unlike “evidence-based” decisions made by courts, the EP was a “political body voicing political messages”.
Saakashvili, who was arrested in Tbilisi in October 2021 on his clandestine return to the country, has claimed he has faced “torture and inhuman treatment in custody”, and alleged he is in “urgent need” of “proper treatment” abroad.
The claims have been countered by penitentiary authorities, who have said the former official is provided with “all necessary services” in healthcare, and alleged Saakashvili has been engaged in “self-harm by not obeying doctors” to facilitate his “illegal release” on medical grounds.