Georgian Poet Accuses Police of Physical and Verbal Abuse

Georgian Poet Zviad Ratiani claims the police officers, who were carrying out police control, arrested and then physically and verbally abused him in a car and later at the police department.

Ratiani claims he was at the ATM, when several policemen, dressed in common clothes, approached him and laughed at his orange coat. He says the situation escalated when the policemen grabbed him and put in the car, where they beat him. The poet says he was taken to Dighomi police department, where he was again mistreated.

“Several policemen, around 7-8 men, were beating me. I do not know the reason. As they said they did not like my orange coat. I do not know anything else,” the poet told reporters.

The detained man was released on December 25, after spending night at the isolator. He says he applied to doctor, who confirmed he has around 10 injures and bruises on the face and body.

Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has launched an investigation into the alleged mistreatment from the side of police officers, adding authority of one policeman has been suspended until the investigation is over.

However, Deputy Interior Minister, Natia Mezvrishvili, has stated that Ratiani was detained for hooliganism and police resistance, while the officers were performing their duty during the police control activities.

Deputy Minister said the poet was drunk, verbally abused police officers and refused to obey their instructions. She assures the MIA has relevant video recording, which shows that the man was resisting police and was very aggressive.

Ratiani’s colleges from the Georgian Poets’ House, have condemned the arrest of the poet at the special press-conference.

The poets called on the MIA to timely investigate the case and to publicize the names of the alleged violators.

“When a state representative, a policeman is violent, it is an offense to the country and its citizens. This is a crime that requires a strict response,” poet Lasha Bughadze stated.

Georgia’s Interior Minister, Giorgi Gakharia also commented on the case. According to him, even if Ratiani was drunk, the police officers had no right to physically abuse him.

The minister says all the details will be known after the investigation is over.

“If the fact of abuse of power by police officers is confirmed, each of them will be held responsible,” Gakharia added.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs launched special police control across the country on December 22 and concluded on December 24. A total of 127 persons were detained during police control activities.


By Thea Morrison

Photo: Poet Zviad Ratiani

Source: RFE/RL

26 December 2017 08:39