UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Friday called on authorities in Georgia to investigate prisoner mistreatment after video footage earlier this week allegedly depicted the torture and rape of prisoners in the country's capital of Tbilisi. A spokesperson for Pillay told reporters in Geneva on Friday that the High Commissioner has called for an immediate investigation [Reuters report] into all allegations of human rights violations against prisoners. The video footage aired on national news stations early this week, prompting nationwide demonstrations calling for justice. Georgia's Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaia resigned amid the protests.
Human rights violations in prisons and prisoner torture have been topics of international concern recently. Last month the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) urged the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to review allegations that Romania was involved in the torture [JURIST report] and other ill-treatment of a Saudi Arabian currently facing a death penalty trial before a US military commission at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder]. In June lawyers for alleged 9/11 conspirator and Guantanamo Bay detainee Khalid Sheikh Mohammed revealed that they have asked a UN official to investigate allegations of torture [JURIST report]. In March, the former head of the Polish Intelligence Agency indicated that he may face charges for his assistance of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in operating a secret prison [JURIST news archive] in Poland where prisoners were allegedly tortured.