Georgia’s interior minister has resigned amid protests over videos showing physical and sexual abuse of inmates in the country’s prisons.
“I feel moral and political responsibility that we failed to eradicate the horrible practice (of torture),” Bacho Akhalaia said in a statement on Thursday.
“This is why I have submitted my resignation to the president,” he added.
Before taking office as interior minister, Akhalaia was the official overseeing the country’s prisons.
Several video recordings emerged on September 18, showing graphic images of prison guards at a jail in the capital Tbilisi brutally beating prisoners. In one video, a prison guard is seen sexually assaulting an inmate.
The videos, which were released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and two opposition leaning channels, TV Maestro and TV 9, triggered a widespread public outrage and sparked nationwide protests.
On Thursday, several thousand people demonstrated for a second day in the cities of Tbilisi, Batumi and Rustavi in protest at the inhuman treatment of the prisoners.
President Mikheil Saakashvili has vowed to punish those responsible for the abuse. He has suspended the country’s entire prison staff and appointed Georgia’s public defender, Giorgi Tugushi, to oversee the prison system.
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