Video footage documenting widespread abuses of prisoners in the Caucasus state of Georgia has surfaced, inciting public protests and prompting President Mikheil Saakashvili to suspend all prison personnel throughout the country.
The footage showed prison staff beating inmates, and in one case sexually assaulting one with a broom handle, which caused outrage among many of their relatives, many of whom attempted to storm some of the prisons, according to the BBC.
Saakashvili announced Wednesday on national television that police would be deployed to the all prisons and demanded an overhaul of the country’s prison system.
Khatuna Kalmakhelidze, Georgia’s minister in charge of prisons, stepped down, admitting she had failed to protect the prisoners’ human rights.
Saakashvili’s ruling United National Movement party has said that the video was released by the political opposition in an attempt to discredit it before the parliamentary elections in October.