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Mukhrovani Trial: 13 Defendants Strike Plea Bargain
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 28 Sep.'09 / 19:48

Prosecution reached plea bargaining with thirteen defendants out of 41 into the trial over what is known as Mukhrovani mutiny, prosecutors told the court on September 28.

Gia Gvaladze, one of the key figures into the case, is among these defendants.

Gvaladze, who has been questioned by the court at the hearings on September 24 and September 28, faces charges related with preparing overthrow of the government through use of force. He is the prosecution’s only witness based on which charges against another defendant Koba Kobaladze are built.

“Gvaladze has entered plea of guilt and cooperated with the investigation and based on this prosecution has agreed on plea bargaining involving sentencing of Gvaladze to two years in prison,” Gvaladze’s new defense lawyer, Maia Julagidze, told Civil.Ge.

Others, who have also agreed on plea bargaining, are five defendants charged with not reporting the crime and seven defendants facing charges related with disobedience.

Judge Jemal Kopaliani ruled that the cases of these defendants will now be separated from the Mukhrovani case and considered by a separate judge, who will have to formally approve already agreed plea bargaining with the prosecution.
Earlier on the same hearing on September 28, the court continued questioning of Gvaladze, which was started at the previous hearing on September 24.

One of the issue on which Gvaladze was pressed by Koba Kobaladze’s defense lawyers was why Kobaladze would have cooperated with him even if he was really masterminding a coup. One of Kobaladze’s lawyers, Shalva Tadumadze, told the court that years ago Gvaladze wrote an article in the Georgian newspaper, Alia, in which he had claimed that then deputy of Kobaladze (the latter was at that time commander of the Georgian armed forces’ western direction), Mikheil Sagurishvili, was a drug-addict. Sagurishvili, Tadumadze, said, was also a close friend of Kobaladze. Asked why would have Kobaladze agreed on his recruitment for participation in the alleged coup and why he would have been trusted by Kobaladze, Gvaladze responded: “How should I know why Kobaladze trusted me?”

During the questioning, which lasted about three hours, Gvaladze told the court that conspirators had no prepared written scheme, in particular about how he was going to seize the buildings of Interior Ministry and General Prosecutor’s Office. He told the court during the previous hearing that according to the plan he was in charge of taking control over these buildings. “I had [the scheme] in my head,” he said. He also said that he would have given orders “spontaneously” to them participating in the seizure of the Interior Ministry and Prosecutor’s Office buildings, located next to each other.

One defense lawyer asked Gvaladze that he, as one of co-conspirators with access to coup senior plotters, as he himself claims, might know who would have become the country’s leader in case of success of the alleged coup. Gvaladze responded: “Various names were mentioned, but I can’t answer you exactly.” Asked whose names were mentioned, he listed Shalva Natelashvili, leader of Labor Party and also Bachuki Kardava, leader of National-Democratic Party – remarks met ironically by some in the audience in the courtroom.

The court trial, which has yet to question some other key figures of the case, will resume on September 30.

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