Two Arrested over Prison Attack on Mtavari Arkhi Shareholder

General Inspection of the Justice Ministry arrested on December 16 two senior prison staff members over neglect of official duties leading to a group assault against Giorgi Rurua, a shareholder of the pro-opposition Mtavari Arkhi TV, the Ministry reported.

The suspects – senior inspector of the security department and chief inspector of the legal regime department of the #8 Penitentiary Facility – were charged under Article 342(e) of the Criminal Code, envisaging fine or house arrest for a term of six months to two years, or imprisonment for up to three years.

According to the Ministry, the investigation launched a month ago established that the two suspects had improperly fulfilled their official duties due to their negligent attitude, resulting in a group assault against inmate Giorgi Rurua, “which substantially violated the rights of the latter and lawful interests of the state.”

Rurua was attacked and beaten by five persons as he left his prison cell to meet with his lawyer on November 2. The lawyer then suspected authorities behind the attack, considering its timing in the wake of the October 31 elections as well as the absence of a verbal confrontation prior to the beating.

Giorgi Rurua was arrested on November 18, 2019, on charges of illegal purchase, storage and carrying of firearms, and was subsequently sentenced to four years in prison. Opposition regards his arrest as politically motivated and has been demanding his release as part of the post-election talks with the ruling Georgian Dream party.

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