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High-Profile Appeal Pressures President to Solve Murder Scandal
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 17 Apr.'06 / 16:28

In an open letter sent to President Saakashvili on April 17 over ninety prominent Georgian figures called on the authorities to investigate the high-profile murder case of Sandro Girgvliani fairly and transparently and warned that a failure to do so would lead to “a complete discrediting” of state structures and the authorities.

The murder of Sandro Girgvliani, the 28-year-old head of the United Georgian Bank’s International Relations Department who was found dead on January 28, became a high-profile case after a televised report indicated that several top-level officials from the Interior Ministry, as well as the wife of Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, could have links to the case.

Following increased public protest, the police arrested four officers from the Interior Ministry’s Department of Constitutional Security in March on suspicion of committing this crime. But suspicions persist that the murder was masterminded by higher level Interior Ministry officials.

“We hope that your political will shall guarantee the exposure and punishment all those persons who have links to this crime,” reads the letter, which was signed by a group of Georgian writers, actors, film and theater directors, singers and representatives of civil society.

“A prompt and unbiased investigation into the Sandro Girgvliani murder case is not a matter of prestige for one state structure alone, or the country’s top leadership, but is a matter of the reputation of the whole of society,” reads the letter, which was published by the Georgian daily Rezonansi and 24 Saati on April 17.

Officials have already downplayed this appeal. “I do not understand the essence of the question. The president is not a detective. The case is being investigated by the relevant structures. And I want to reiterate that everyone who is guilty of this terrible crime will face due punishment. I have no doubt about this,” Chief of the President’s Administration Giorgi Arveladze said in comments broadcasted by Imedi television.

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