MOSCOW, January 18 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian delegation at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will push for a special report to be compiled on human rights violations in Georgia during Mikheil Saakashvili’s presidency, Russian delegation chief Alexei Pushkov said on Friday.
There will be many questions for Saakashvili, who is due to address a PACE session later this month, Pushkov said.
“According to the Georgian opposition, it turns out there were many unlawful activities [during Saakashvili’s rule], including prison torture” and the alleged killing of four protesters in last April’s demonstration, he said.
Pushkov also cited the alleged murder of Georgia’s former Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania in February 2005.
The Georgian opposition believes all crimes should be investigated, he said.
“It is not ruled out that we will initiate the preparation of such a report at this session or next [in April],” he said.
The Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office said in December it had received more than 7,000 complaints from the public since late October.
The complaints chiefly concern human rights violations by Georgia’s previous government, which was voted out of office in the October 2012 parliamentary elections. More than 1,000 of those complaints concern prison torture and harassment, Prosecutor General Archil Kbilashvili said.
In mid-November, Georgia’s former Defense and Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaya was charged with false imprisonment and torture. The prosecution alleged that in February 2010, on Akhalaya’s orders, 19 servicemen were locked up in a bathhouse for “indiscipline,” where they spent three nights without food or heating.
Akhalaya was detained along with two other military officials on charges of abuse of office, degrading treatment, physical and verbal abuse of subordinates, false imprisonment and torture. Akhalaya was dismissed as interior minister in late September, on the third day of protests in Tbilisi over claims that inmates at a local correctional facility, Gldani Prison Number 8, were tortured.
Saakashvili vowed to punish all those responsible for torture.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.