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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Georgia Faces Criticism Over Rights Violations

TBILISI, Georgia - In an echo of charges being leveled in Moscow against the Yeltsin government, the Georgian regime is coming under increasing criticism for alleged human rights violations linked to a state of emergency imposed last month.


Dozens of supporters of former President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, who is leading a rebellion against the embattled government of Eduard Shevardnadze, have been arrested under the emergency rule. Many of those have reportedly been physically abused in custody.


A senior Western diplomat who declined to be identified criticized the government Wednesday, saying: "I fear that human rights violations are becoming increasingly commonplace under the current military regime".


Manana Gotsiridze, the wife of the editor of Georgia's main opposition newspaper, said her husband, Irakli, had been severely beaten in prison, where he is being held on charges of sedition. Gotsiridze's Iberia Spectre, the main opposition newspaper, has been closed.


Gotsiridze, 70, was arrested recently, along with dozens of supporters of Gamsakhurdia, under Georgia's state of emergency, which Shevardnadze imposed after the former president's backers took control of several towns in western Georgia.


A doctor who saw Gotsiridze but who was not allowed to treat him, and who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "He has several broken ribs, severe bruising and breathing difficulties".


The military head of Georgia's ruling emergency committee, Jaba Ioseliani, said in an interview that Gotsiridze "fell down the stairs". Ioseliani, whose private paramilitary group, the Mkhedrioni, or Horsemen, now makes up the bulk of the Georgian armed forces, added that the newspaper editor was "an enemy of the present leadership". Western embassies, Red Cross officials, and foreign journalists have all been denied access to Gotsiridze.