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Georgian State Inspector Speaks of Additional Violations into Teen Suicide Case

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The State Inspector Service of Georgia has reported that it has revealed additional violations committed by law enforcement agencies and Tbilisi’s private secondary school with regard to the suicide case that left a 15-year-old boy dead.

In a statement released on February 7, the State Inspector Service noted that as part of its investigative activities, the agency has revealed alleged violations of the Juvenile Justice Code and Police Code of Ethics by investigator Mariana Choloyan and other police officers.

Highlighting violations of the law and alleged misconduct, it explained that police officers addressed the teen using aggressive tone and swear words, and interviewed the boy in the absence of his legal representative.

The State Inspector Service said that it has already applied to the Interior Ministry’s General Inspection with the request to impose disciplinary punishment on these persons. Subsequently, Mariana Choloyan’s case has been sent to Tbilisi City Court.

With reference to the results of examination carried out on the premises of the  private school, the State Inspector Office said that “among other violations, it was revealed that no video surveillance signs were placed at school and video surveillance was conducted at the places of hygiene [restrooms].”

“When processing the data through the video surveillance system, the school [administration] did not take relevant measures to enforce data protection; video recordings were disclosed without proper legal grounds,” the statement reads.

It also noted that an administrative liability has been imposed on the school according to articles 43 (data processing without the grounds under this law), 46 (failure to comply with data protection requirements) and 48 (violation of video surveillance rules) of the Law on Personal Data Protection.

The State Inspector Service clarified that “the school administration failed to timely inform children’s legal representatives and psychologist to ascertain their attendance during the interrogation procedures. Moreover, the administration made one of the schoolchildren identify his/her classmate in a video tape and it also did not protect privacy of students’ personal correspondence.”

The State Inspector Service noted, that “in order to proceed with addressing said breaches of law, it had already referred the case to the National Center for Educational Quality Enhancement, an entity within the Ministry of Education of Georgia.”

Background

A 15-year-old boy, who according to media reports, plunged to his death in an attempted suicide on December 12, succumbed to his injuries at Tbilisi’s Iashvili Children’s Hospital.

Earlier, 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.

According to reports, 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 victim, according to the school officials, studied there earlier, but was moved to a public school at parent’s request a while ago.

According to mother’s reports, who attended the interrogation of a minor, police investigators have pressured her son to confess and she was too shocked to intervene. She also reported, according to the media, that at one point the investigator removed her son from the room, and he returned to the room crying.

The Ministry of Interior denied allegations of misconduct, noting that the interrogation procedures for minors were followed, and that he was interrogated in presence of his mother.

On December 17, after reports on teen’s death emerged, the State Inspector Service released a statement, saying that investigator Mariana Choloyan was arrested in connection with the fact of compelling a teen to give a testimony. Later, on December 19, Tbilisi City Court sentenced Choloyan to two-month pretrial detention.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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