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Long overdue penal reforms need to be put into practice

Demonstations continued in Georgia today as hundreds gathered in Tbilisi to protest prison abuse that has taken place under President Mikheil Saakashvili. The protests were sparked by video footage of Georgian prison guards brutally beating and abusing inmates.

The European Parliament has previously made clear demands on the Georgian Government to improve conditions in its Resolution on Georgia of November 2011. The mistreatment and torture of inmates in the video footage is unacceptable and President Saakaschwili must act immediately on Georgian prisons as well as ease access for checks by the Georgian Citizens-Representative as well as non-governmental Human Rights Organisations.

Ulrike Lunacek, foreign policy speaker of the Greens/EFA Group and member of the South-Caucasia Delegation of the European Parliament added:

"President Saakaschwili's recent announcement that those responsible will be punished and the penal system reformed is long overdue and is hopefully not only due to next week's Parliamentary elections. Furthermore, I demand from the Saakaschwili government that there be no hindrance to free and fair elections on 1 October as this would significantly affect the reform process in Georgia."

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