UNICEF Concerned Over Georgian Police’s Mistreatment of Minors

TBILISI - The United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has expressed concern about reports that Georgian police abused two minors after they were falsely detained in December 2015.

“According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), no child shall be subjected to torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.”

Georgia is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze on February 11 ordered an investigation into the incidents, saying Georgia is committed to upholding the rights of minors.

According to one of the teenagers involved in the incidents, the police stopped him and his friends at a bus station in Georgia’s western city Terjola. The officers later took them to the local police station after forcing the minors to admit that they had robbed several local shops. The police allegedly claimed to have CCTV footage of the robberies and threatened to imprison the group if they failed to inform the police about drug dealers and narcotics users in the town.

The victims claim they were threated with rape in prison if they failed to cooperate.

In a separate incident, another teenager claims he and his companions were detained and taken to a police station on December 15, 2015, where they were subjected to eight hours of verbal and physical abuse. The minor claims the police confiscated their mobile phones, forced them to strip naked and admit that they were involved in shoplifting.

According to documents released by the offices of Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili, the minors are between 13-14 years of age.

“While acknowledging the work undertaken by the Ministry of Internal Affairs to identify and train police officers for cases involving juveniles, UNICEF calls on the ministry to urgently take the steps needed to reinforce and accelerate the process of police training and to ensure that effective supervision mechanisms are in place,” said UNICEF.

UNICEF, in collaboration with other donors and local partners, has actively supported Georgia in its drive to reform the country’s juvenile justice system.

By Tamar Svanidze

Edited by Nicholas Waller

23 February 2016 20:11