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Georgia Detains Ex-Prison Official Behind Leaked Torture Videos

A former Georgian prison official whose leaked videos contributed to the defeat of President Mikheil Saakashvili’s party in October elections was detained on arrival at Tbilisi International Airport early today.

Vladimer Bedukadze, who admitted to making public the graphic footage of inmate abuse, was arrested after landing on a flight from Istanbul, Nino Giorgobiani, a spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry, said by phone.

Charged with mistreating detainees, Bedukadze fled the country last year, his lawyer, Elza Jmukhadze, told reporters today in the Georgian capital. The date for his first court hearing hasn’t been set, she said.

Graphic videos released weeks before Oct. 1 parliamentary elections helped Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili’s opposition coalition to a surprising win after it ran more than 20 percentage points behind Saakashvili’s party in August. Footage of prison guards beating and raping male inmates with a broom handle and truncheon sparked mass protests in the country ruled for the past nine years by Saakashvili.

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