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Mothers of prisoners were joined by thousands of protesters on Thursday, after a video emerged showing guards torturing and raping inmates at a prison. They called for the resignation of the Interior and Justice Ministers.
One mother said: “I can not bear this any more, I fainted three times yesterday. I didn’t know that such things happened at the prison. At least I did not believe it.”
In an effort to diffuse tensions President Mikhail Saakashvili has accepted the resignation of the minister in charge of penitentiaries, and completely reshuffled prison personnel.
Georgian prosecutors have arrested 12 prison officials and Saakashvili has vowed to punish those responsible.
The video comes at a sensitive moment for the president, who has led Georgia since 2004, just ahead of parliamentary elections on October 1.
The video showing guards torturing prisoners and raping them with truncheons and broom handles was broadcast by two opposition TV channels on Monday, leading the government to claim that it was staged for political reasons.