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Questions Remain Two Years after Late PM’s Death
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 3 Feb.'07 / 17:11

There is an attempt to cover up the truth behind the death of Georgia’s late Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania, his brother Goga Zhvania told the Georgian daily Rezonansi published on February 3 – two years after his death.

The dead bodies of Zurab Zhvania and regional official Raul Yusupov were found in an apartment on Saburtalo street in Tbilisi in the early hours of February 3, 2005. A few hours after the bodies were found, the Georgian authorities announced that the PM died of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a faulty gas heater.

“I must announce my mistrust in the investigation. Our major demand about involving foreign experts in the investigation has not been fulfilled so far. The President gave this promise, but failed to keep it,” Goga Zhvania, the late prime minister’s brother, said in the interview with the Rezonansi.
 
In other recent interviews with the Georgian press Goga Zhvania noted that there are many unclear details in the official account of the incident. In particular, he claims that investigators failed to find fingerprints of Zhvania and Yusupov in the apartment where their dead bodies were found.

The Georgian General Prosecutor’s Office has not yet finished its investigation into the circumstances of the deaths.

At the Georgian government’s request, personnel from the FBI conducted a test on 9 February 2005 to measure the air quality in the apartment under conditions that approximated as closely as possible those of the early morning when the two men’s dead bodies were found.

“Nothing was observed during the testing or in the analysis of the test data to contradict the preliminary finding of the Georgian Government that Messrs Zhvania and Yusupov died of carbon monoxide poisoning attendant to a faulty heater,” the findings of the FBI test read.

A team of five experts from the FBI also inspected the heater that was installed in the apartment. Examination of the heater took place at the National Forensics Bureau in the presence of Levan Samkharauli, then director of the Bureau. Samkharauli was gunned down three months later in the eastern Georgian town of Kvareli. According to the police accounts, the murder suspect committed suicide shortly after killing Samkharauli.

President Saakashvili and other officials visited Zurab Zhvania’s grave at the Didube Cemetery in Tbilisi on February 3 to commemorate the late prime minister.

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