Georgia hunts prison torture 'whistleblower': report
TBILISI, Georgia - Agence France-Presse
Protests were sparked in Georgia after footage showing the torture and rape of inmates in the capital's main prison was aired by two television channels supportive of the opposition. REUTERS photoGeorgian authorities have put a prison guard on Interpol's wanted list after he filmed videos of torturing inmates that hit the government ahead of polls next week, media reported today.
Former jail guard Vladimer Bedukadze says he made the prison videos and then fled to Belgium before releasing them, but he is wanted by the authorities for alleged involvement in the abuse of inmates.
Bedukadze says he made the videos of guards beating and raping male prisoners in a bid to stop abuses.
But prosecutors say he was paid to do it and should be arrested for allegedly "conducting activities constituting inhumane and degrading treatment and torture".
The torture scandal erupted ahead of elections to be held Monday in which President Mikheil Saakashvili's governing party faces a strong challenge from an opposition coalition led by the billionaire tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili.
Four more prison officials were arrested for alleged torture on Thursday, taking the number detained so far to 16.
"Within the framework of the ongoing investigation as regards Penitentiary Department employees, four people were arrested at dawn for the inhumane treatment, torture and rape of inmates," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.
The men were accused of committing the crimes in a jail in Georgia's second city of Kutaisi, the statement said.
Two ministers were forced to resign over the scandal and the authorities have promised a complete overhaul of the jail system to eradicate abuses.