Georgian officials offered condolences over the death of a 15-year-old boy, who succumbed to his injuries following an attempted suicide at Tbilisi’s Iashvili Children’s Hospital yesterday.
Expressing his “deep sorrow,” for the teen’s “tragic death,” Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia stated on December 18 that everyone whose blame will be confirmed, will be “severely punished despite their rank and status.”
In the today’s statement, PM Gakharia called on the Interior and Education Ministries to “fully cooperate” with the “open and transparent” investigation, launched by the State Inspector’s Office (a newly established body mandated to investigate crimes committed by police and public officials).
“All of us, the entire society are together responsible before [the teen], [and] his family, to minimize the systemic gaps that have existed throughout years,” Gakharia stated.
The Prime Minister then urged the Interior Ministry to take immediate measures to ensure juvenile-friendly investigative environment in the office, and carefully select the staff dealing with juvenile deliquency.
He also called on the Healthcare and Education Ministries to immediately set and introduce a concrete plan to counter “systemic gaps”; and Justice Ministry – to share a legislative vision on the possibility to establish “additional guarantees” for children in conflict with law.
According to him, the Government of Georgia takes “full responsibility” to carry out the reform in this regard, and that “any attempt to use this tragedy for political reasons, in unacceptable.” “Everyone should cooperate with the investigation as much as possible,” he concluded.
Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze also expressed his concern. “Although our condolences and sorrow cannot return [the teen back to life], I just want all of us to remember what we were like at 15,” he said ahead of the today’s Tbilisi government session.
Speaking of the challenges of being a teenager, Kaladze said the society has “lost the empathy and ability to love,” and that teens “are surrounded by hatred and aggression.” Accordion to him, the death of a child is the fault of the entire society, “because the family, school, and the state are equally responsible for the future generations.”
Interior Ministry also expressed condolences to the family of deceased boy late yesterday, saying that they “actively continue to cooperate” with the State Inspector’s Office and are “interested to reveal the objective truth about everyone involved in this case.”
According to reports, prior to attempted suicide, the boy was interrogated in the First Police Unit of Tbilisi’s Didube-Chughureti district on December 10-11, as the Police was investigating appearance of offensive spray-painted graffiti in the corridors and the courtyard of one of Tbilisi’s private secondary schools the night before.
The media implicated police misconduct in the affair, alleging – based on the statement by victim’s mother – that the boy was psychologically pressured during the Police interrogation.
The Ministry of Interior had been denying allegations of misconduct, noting that the interrogation procedures for minors were followed, and that he was interrogated in presence of his mother on December 10, as well as the next day, December 11.
However, late on December 17, soon after the boy passed away, the State Inspector’s Office announced that they detained the police investigator on suspicions of forcing a confession.