EHRAC submits case on suicide in Georgian prison to the European Court of Human Rights

17 September 2014

On 17 September 2014, EHRAC and the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association submitted a new case against Georgia to the European Court of Human Rights concerning the death of prisoner, Kakhaber Tedliashvili, on 30 April 2011 in the N6 penitentiary facility, Rustavi, in Georgia, three years after beginning his sentence.

According to the applicants (his family), by spring 2010 Mr Tedliashvili’s relationship with prison employees had become strained, and he began to receive threats on his life from prison personnel. By January 2011, he was regularly calling to tell his family that his life was in danger; in April of that year he was placed in solitary confinement, where he began to write letters to government bodies about these threats. Weeks later, he was found hanged, with a medical bandage around his neck, in solitary confinement. However, the family have serious doubts about Mr Tedliashvili’s alleged suicide. An investigation was launched on charges of inciting Kakhaber Tedliashvili to commit suicide.

Mr Tedliashvili’s family argue violations of the right to life (Article 2) and the right to an effective remedy (Article 13) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), alleging that the State failed to provide him with adequate protection, even though the authorities were aware of the risk to his life. They further argue that his placement in solitary confinement was inadequate in light of his relationship with the prison authorities, as he remained under the control of the same personnel; Tedliashvili’s transfer to a different penitentiary facility would have been an effective measure. The family also claim that the investigation was ineffective, and did not conform to ECHR requirements. The investigative authorities failed to conduct a number of important measures during a period of three years, and have failed to establish the circumstances of his death. His family has not yet been granted victim status, and three years later, the domestic investigation of the case is still pending.