Opposition lawmakers demanded on May 24 to have an immediate probe into the reported abuse of office by Irakli Kodua, chief of the Special Operations Department (SOD) at the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA).
Public Defender Sozar Subari demanded on May 22 the suspension of the SOD chief for his alleged involvement in the illegal arrest and torture of three innocent men and the fabrication of evidence against them for “personal revenge.”
Pikria Chikhradze, MP, of the opposition New Rights Party said at a news conference on May 24 that continued abuse of office by top-level officials in the MIA was a result of impunity enjoyed by the police.
Opposition lawmaker Koka Guntsadze said at the same news conference that the abuse of office by top level police officials was partly because of the concentration of too much power under the MIA.
“We demand the separation of the security service from the Interior Ministry, as well as the establishment of municipal police,” Guntsadze said.
According to the public defender, Sozar Subari, the chief of SOD ordered the arrest of Lasha Khorguani and two of his companions and then fabricated evidence against them.
But in phone interviews with the Rustavi 2 TV and Imedi TV on May 24, Khorguani said that the public defender had been “lying,” adding that the arrests had been legal and the subsequent releases done as a result of plea bargaining.
“What Subari said is not true,” Khorguani said.
In his statement on May 22, Subari said that Khorguani had been intimidated by the law enforcers not to reveal the truth.
Lawmakers from the ruling National Movement Party hailed SOD as one of “the most effective” structures within the Interior Ministry.
“But we will take appropriate measures in Parliament, if the allegations [against the SOD chief] turn out to have any substance,” Levan Bezhashvili, MP, chairman of the parliamentary committee for legal issues, said on May 24.
Meanwhile, the General Prosecutor’s Office said on May 24 that it has launched an investigation into arrest of Khorguani and two of his companions in Mestia, western Georgia. But the investigation will focus whether local police in the Mestia district committed any wrongdoing while arresting three men.