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Georgia: Can Prison Abuse Scandal Produce Protest Votes?

A series of prison abuse videos released last week may influence Georgia's parliamentary election. (YouTube screen grab.)

Just days ahead of the country’s October 1 parliamentary vote, televised images of the brutal treatment of detainees at Georgia’s Prison No. 8 are stoking one of the most serious political crises ever encountered by President Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration. The scandal has quickly scrambled assumptions about the upcoming election.

Over the past week, graphic video footage of male prisoners being beaten and raped with broomsticks have inspired days of protests. They have also prompted the resignations of two ministers, Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaia and Correctional System Minister Khatuna Kalmakhelidze.

Abuse of prisoners has been well documented for years -- some have even died in custody – yet the issue never seemed to attract much public attention.

Until now.

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Molly Corso is a freelance journalist who also works as editor of Investor.ge, a monthly publication by the American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia.

Georgia: Can Prison Abuse Scandal Produce Protest Votes?

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