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Ombudsman Wants Top MIA Official to be Suspended
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 23 May.'07 / 11:33

Public Defender Sozar Subari has demanded the suspension of the chief of the Ministry of Internal Affairs' Special Operations Department (SOD), Irakli Kodua, for his alleged involvement in the arrest and torture of innocent men and the fabrication of evidence.

Speaking at a news conference Subari said that the case involved the detention of three men in the Mestia region of western Georgia in February 2007 by SOD operatives. They were all charged with illegal possession of arms and drugs and were subsequently convicted and given five-year suspended prison terms. One of them, Lasha Khorguani, spent two months in prison before being released. Subari said that a probe carried out by his office had found that the law enforcement agencies had fabricated the evidence to obtain the convictions.

According to the public fefender, “personal revenge” motivated Irakli Kodua, chief of SOD, in obtaining the convictions.

Apparently, a friend of Khorguani's made a call at about 3 am from the latter’s cell phone to an acquaintance of Kodua’s - Nanuka Zhorzholiani, a former reporter with Rustavi 2 TV and now head of Information Center on NATO. The late-night phone call angered Zhorzholiani, who then told Kodua. Next morning, Khorguani and two friends were arrested. His friends were released, but Khorguani himself remained in custody for two months, as law enforcers wanted the name of the person who made the late-night phone call to Zhorzholiani.

“The law enforcers have warned Lasha Khorguani not to let anyone know about the case, otherwise his family would suffer. I have, however, no right to keep this case secret,” Subari said.

“I recommend that the general prosecutor, Zurab Adeishvili, launch an investigation into this case, as well consider the possibility of suspending [Irakli Kodua] pending investigation,” he added.

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