Nine Georgian NGOs on Friday called on several ministries to ensure the life and health of arrested former deputy head of Georgia’s State Security Service Soso Gogashvili, who had spoken about rigged elections, alleged offences by current top officials and Russian FSB plans in the Georgian Patriarchate following his detention, claiming he was arrested on “political grounds” earlier this month.
In a statement earlier today, the NGOs urged the Ministry of Justice “to take full responsibility for the protection of Gogashvili's life and physical safety” in the penitentiary system, the court to administer justice to Gogashvili without leaving any questions, and the General Prosecutor's Office to “immediately start an investigation into all the facts and information containing signs of crime disseminated by Gogashvili”.
"It should be noted that the name of Soso Gogashvili is associated with a number of systematic crimes and gross violations of the rights of specific citizens in the past. The mentioned facts need an effective and complete investigation. However, at the same time, it is critically important to protect Gogashvili's rights as a whistleblower and guarantee his safety,” said the NGOs.
The non-governmental organisations noted that after his arrest, Gogashvili announced that he had exposed systemic crimes, including “large-scale use of administrative resources, voter bribery, illegal collection of personal data by the ruling party, receiving illegal assignments from the founder of the ruling party Bidzina Ivanishvili, the involvement of the security guard in the kidnapping of Azerbaijani journalist Afghan Mukhtarli” and others.
Gogashvili was arrested on July 16, 2022 at his home on three charges. The investigation accuses him of tampering with personal data, exceeding his authority and illegal acquisition and storage of firearms.
Gogashvili and his family members claim that during arrest the former official was ill-treated,and that arms and files were planted on him.