Parliament in breakaway Abkhazia voted on November 12 to strip a lawmaker Nodik Kvitsinia of his immunity, opening the way for prosecutors to bring charges of ordering kidnapping and murder of a Russian businessman year ago, Abkhaz news agency Apsnipress reported.
Russian businessman Sergey Klemantovich and his partner Oksana Skarednova went missing from Abkhaz capital Sokhumi in September, 2012. In October, 2013 the Abkhaz prosecutor’s office announced that the two were kidnapped and murdered; their bodies were found in an abandoned well in a village of Ochamchire district. Four men were arrested and charged with kidnapping and murder and in addition the prosecutor’s office requested the Supreme Court to pave the way for stripping Kvitsinia of his MP immunity, accusing him of ordering the crime.
Kvitsinia, who was elected from Gali constituency and who chairs parliamentary committee for agriculture and natural resources, denies charges. He says that the Russian businessman owed him money from sale of 3.5 hectares of land in the Gagra district for USD 2 million, which Klemantovich was paying in separate installments and he had no reason whatsoever to kill the Russian businessman.
After Abkhaz Supreme Court gave green light for launching criminal proceedings against the MP, it was then up to the breakaway region’s Parliament to decide whether to strip the lawmaker of his MP immunity or not.
After debates on November 7 the Parliament voted but a decision in favor of stripping Kvitsinia of his MP immunity fell short of two votes; later on the same day the Parliament was reconvened, which instructed the prosecutor’s office to provide additional information about ongoing investigation. But on November 11 MP Kvitsinia himself filed a motion before the Parliament requesting for stripping him of MP immunity and on November 12 Parliament voted in favor. Parliament’s decision reads that immunity was removed based on prosecutor’s office request and also on a request filed by MP himself.
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