Prisoner abuse video sparks protests in Georgia

Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili has vowed to punish those responsible for the torture and rape of inmates at a Georgian prison. Videotape of the abuses was aired on opposition-backed television Tuesday.

Mr. Saakashvili spoke Wednesday, ordering police into Georgia’s prisons and vowing “zero tolerance” of human rights abuses.

The video sparked protests in the streets of the capital, Tbilisi, and forced the resignation of the cabinet minister in charge of the prison system. The government said in a statement Wednesday that it has made a number of arrests in connection with the abuses.

The Interior Ministry has blamed the president’s opponents for organizing and filming the abuses.

Mr. Saakashvili’s supporters face a stiff fight from the opposition bloc known as Georgian Dream, led by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili in upcoming parliamentary elections.

The U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi has condemned the abuse of prisoners and called for an investigation.


(Photo of Saakashvili by