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Georgian police ‘covered up domestic violence’

16 December 2017
Conference of the Coalition for Equality (Dato Parulava /OC Media)

Two Georgian women have accused police of failing to effectively investigate crimes committed against them by their partners, because of connections they have with government bodies.

The two women’s complaints were announced in a 15 December press conference held by the Coalition for Equality, a union of several Georgian right groups.

A State Security Service official

The first woman accused her ex-partner, a State Security Service (SSG) official, of using his position to cover up crimes he committed against her. She accused him of physically and psychologically abusing her in front of her child.

An investigation was launched on domestic violence charges 11 days ago, and the Coalition says there are clear signs of degrading and inhuman treatment and that a crime was committed in the presence of a minor.

‘[Her ex-partner] forced her to walk without a jacket in winter while following behind by car. He threatened to kill her and to destroy her property. Members of his family have been blackmailing her, threatening to spread “compromising information” about her’, said Baia Pataraia, head of women’s rights group Sapari.

She said Sapari’s request to examine CCTV footage from nearby cameras, conduct expert examinations of evidence, and question witnesses has been ignored by police.

‘Despite our request, no restraining order has been issued. Meanwhile, [the ex-partner] continues to blackmail her through his relatives’, the statement issued by the Coalition says.

A relative in the Interior Ministry

The second woman whose case was presented by the coalition claims her abusive ex-husband is being protected by a relative who works at the Interior Ministry.

Nino Tasoshvili says the official is covering up crimes committed by her ex-husband against her. She says she appealed 12 times to Borjomi’s police department for help.

Tasoshvili says her ex-husband’s relative ‘violently interfered’ in the investigation, exercising his influence on witnesses and trying to protect the accused. Tasoshvili’s ex-husband was eventually arrested after Sapari got involved, but pressure on Tasoshvili continues, the Coalition says.

‘I demand protection, but everything happens quite to the contrary — they accuse me of being violent towards my six-year-old son. [My ex-husband’s relative] sent his daughter with a camera [to make my son confess I was abusive], but my son doesn’t have any traces of violence. I will not let them interrogate my son again. I can not traumatise him anymore after all the violence he has witnessed’, Tasoshvili said.

The Coalition said they have seen other examples of the authorities not properly investigating cases involving officials.

‘In such cases, no restraining orders are issued, crimes are not properly classified, victims and witnesses are pressured, and law enforcement agencies do not protect them. Women who are victims of violence try to find justice, but in vain’, the statement says.

The Coalition for Equality urged the SSG to suspend the accused official and provide protection to the victim.

They also urged the authorities to launch an investigation into Nino Tasoshvili’s ex-husband’s relative for abuse of power and interfering in the investigation into her case.

The coalition called on the government to provide physical and psychological protection to the victims, ‘especially considering the risks that might emerge after publicising these cases’.

Domestic violence in Georgia

The Public Defender’s 2017 special report says that domestic violence and violence against women remains an important challenge for Georgia.

According to data provided to the Public Defender by the Prosecutor’s Office, from 1 January to 20 September, investigations were launched into 22 cases of femicide, with 13 showing signs of domestic violence.

In the first six months of 2017, more than 1,800 restraining orders were issued.

Older data from 2015 showed that 94% of people with restraining orders against them were men, the majority taken out by their wives.

2014 research from the United Nations Population Fund suggested that one in every eleven woman in Georgia has been a victim of physical violence.

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