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Georgian jail torture video sparks protests

Graphic video purports to show prison torture in Georgia. Footage seen here shows prisoners being beaten, kicked and abused by a group of staff members. Additional footage allegedly shows prisoners being sexually assaulted. Hundreds gathered in central Tbilisi early Wednesday after two pro-opposition channels broadcast the video. Shorena Shaverdashvili is editor in chief for "Liberali" magazine. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EDITOR IN CHIEF OF "LIBERALI" MAGAZINE, SHORENA SHAVERDASHVILI, SAYING: "This is not the first fact of torture in prisons. Year after year there are documented cases in ombudsmen's reports about tortured prisoners. Only in last year's report there are 140 different cases identified of torture or mishandling of prisoners." A statement from Geogia's Interior Ministry claimed that the videos were staged and recorded by officers who were bribed for political purposes. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili issued a statement condemning the footage and promising prisoners would be better protected. The controversy comes as the latest confrontation between the government and opposition ahead of a parliamentary vote on October 1.

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