Army Chief of Staff Suspended from Office
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 11 Nov.'12 / 19:14

A grab from video footage of Brigadier General Giorgi Kalandadze at a meeting with President Saakashvili on November 10.

Tbilisi City Court has suspended Chief of Joint Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, Brigadier General Giorgi Kalandadze, from office pending further inquiries and trial into criminal charges against him involving alleged abuse of soldiers.

32-year-old Brig. Gen. Kalandadze was arrested on November 7 and charged with exceeding official powers. Former commander of 4th infantry brigade Zurab Shamatava and former interior and defense minister Bacho Akhalaia were also arrested in connection to the same case, although Akhalaia faces other charges too.

Court released Brig. Gen. Kalandadze, as well as Shamatava, on GEL 20,000 bail, but remanded Akhalaia in pre-trial custody.

After the release on bail on November 10, Brig. Gen. Kalandadze was received by President Saakashvili in his residence in Tbilisi; President Saakashvili told Kalandadze to continue performing his duties in the capacity of army’s chief of staff.

However, later on the same day the prosecutor’s office said it had filed a motion to the court requesting suspending Kalandadze from the office. Tbilisi City Court approved on Sunday the motion and suspended Kalandadze.

Brigadier General Vakhtang Kapanadze, who is defense minister Irakli Alasania’s ally, will now be an acting chief of army staff. Kapanadze became first deputy chief of army staff on November 2. Kapanadze served as chief of army staff for six months in 2004.

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