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Interior Minister Comments on High-Profile Murder Case
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 25 Feb.'06 / 12:58

Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili hinted on February 24 that he is not yet ready to sack those officials from the Interior Ministry who are allegedly linked to the murder case of Sandro Girgvliani.

“I am personally controlling the investigation process of this case… You know that many of our colleagues were sacked or arrested for wrongdoings in the past and we will not hesitate or step back if [such measures are] necessary in the future,” Merabishvili said at a news conference.

The murder case of Girgvliani became the focus of public attention after the weekly program "Droeba" - on the Tbilisi-based Imedi television station - aired some details of the case on February 12, which alleged that top officials from the Interior Ministry, including Data Akhalaia, chief of the constitutional department of the Interior Ministry; Guram Donadze, spokesman of the Interior Ministry and Vasil Sanodze, chief of the general inspection of the Interior Ministry, as well as the wife of Interior Minister Merabishvili, Tako Salakaia, could have been linked to this murder case.

Georgian Public Defender Sozar Subari requested on February 24 that Interior Minister Merabishvili sack spokesman of the Ministry Guram Donadze. But he said nothing about other officials.

Opposition parliamentarians demanded that Minister Merabishvili appear in the Parliament and brief the MPs over investigation process on February 23.

Vano Merabishvili said on February 24 that some politicians are trying to use this murder case “for their political interests, which is inadmissible.”

He also said that the case is still being investigated by the Interior Ministry.  The opposition, as well as some human rights groups, including Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, demanded that the case be investigated by the General Prosecutor’s Office.

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