The Supreme Court has reduced jail terms by six months for Gia Alania and three other former Interior Ministry officers, who were jailed for inflicting injuries that resulted in 28-year-old Sandro Girgvliani’s death in February 2006.
The Tbilisi City Court sentenced Alania and three other former officers to eight and seven-year prison terms, respectively, last July. The Court of Appeals upheld the verdict last December. The Supreme Court, however, cut the prison terms after dropping charges involving damage to the belongings of the victim.
The courtâ€™s ruling is expected to re-ignite the controversy. The lawyer for the Girgvliani family, which was separately represented during the original trial, wanted the Supreme Court to return the case to the lower level court to re-investigate evidence that, according to the lawyer, had been ignored previously.
The Girgvliani family, some human right groups and opposition politicians claim that several former high-level Interior Ministry officials, as well as Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili’s wife, were implicated in the murder. The official investigation, however, they claim, covered up crucial evidence that would have proven their allegations.