September 20, 2012 21:57
Saakashvili: filming torture in Georgia prison a paid election campaign scheme
TBILISI. Sept 20 (Interfax) - Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has admitted that reported torture and rape in one of Tbilisi's prisons was a fact but claimed that television footage showing the outrages was an election campaign scheme funded by some of his adversaries.
"Of course, what has happened is a great shortcoming for the system, but the specific individual who was involved in all that and who is being called today all but a hero spent months filming it in order to sell that footage afterward," Saakashvili said during a ceremony on Thursday in which he handed new apartments to armed forces officers.
"I want to say to the people who financed it all: you can't give everything up for elections, you can't use political dividends as the measuring stick for everything. If you know that something like that is happening and you are paying money for it, how can you sleep peacefully and, moreover, rub your hands because it's a good document for the elections?" he said.
The "paid videotapes" of torture are "part of other anti-Georgian plans," the president said.
The footage, taken in Gldani Prison, was shown on Tuesday by Georgian opposition television channels Maestro and TV-9. It sparked mass protests in various Georgian cities. The scandal led to the resignation of Corrections and Legal Assistance Minister Khatuna Kalmakhelidze.
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