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Prosecutors Want Pre-Trial Detention of Akhalaia, Two Army Commanders
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 9 Nov.'12 / 13:15

Prosecutor’s office has asked the court to send former defense and interior minister Bacho Akhalaia and two senior military commanders to a pre-trial detention pending investigation.

The Tbilisi City Court is expected to start hearing into this motion at 2pm local time on November 9.

Bacho Akhalaia, as well as chief of staff of the armed forces Giorgi Kalandadze and commander of 4th infantry brigade of the armed forces Zurab Shamatava face charges involving “exceeding official powers”; the case involves alleged abuse of soldiers in October, 2011 when Akhalaia served as defense minister.

Abuse of power carries a prison term from five to eight years.

Akhalaia has also been charged on a separate count involving “illegal deprivation of freedom”.

Chief prosecutor, Archil Kbilashvili, said on November 9, that this case involves charges of illegal confinement, beating and verbal insult of a victim, whose identity has not been revealed, allegedly by Akhalaia, Kalandadze, former head of penitentiary department Davit Tchakua and several of their associates on September 13, 2011.

At that time Akhalaia was defense minister, Kalandadze was deputy chief of joint staff of the armed forces and Tchakua was chief of prisons, who lost his job after the prison abuse scandal in September, 2012.

The prosecutor’s office released written testimony of the anonymous victim, according to which at 5am on September 13, 2011 he was taken from his house by Akhalaia’s associates to one of the restaurants in Tbilisi where in one of the private rooms of the restaurant he was verbally insulted and beaten by Akhalaia and his associates including Kalandadze and Tchakua, as well as by Akhalaia’s security guard. According to this testimony, the victim was then taken to one of the houses in Tbilisi suburb where he was held till 9pm of September 13. According to this testimony the victim knew Akhalaia in the past, but had not seen him for four years before that incident. The victim says that he does not know what the reason behind his beating was. The prosecutor’s office has also released written testimonies of victim’s wife and four witnesses – some of them employees of the Ministry of Defense and some working in the penitentiary, who allegedly were involved in either taking the victim from his house to the restaurant or in taking the victim to a house in Tbilisi suburb where he was held for several hours.

Chief prosecutor, Archil Kbilashvili, said that charges have been brought against Akhalaia into this case under second and third parts of article 143 of the criminal code that involves “illegal deprivation of freedom” committed by a group of individuals with use of violence that posed threat to a person’s life.

These charges carry a prison term from seven to ten years, according to the chief prosecutor.

Kbilashvili also said that available evidence were enough to also launch legal proceedings against former head of prison department Davit Tchakua and the prosecutor’s office was now considering on additional charges against Kalandadze too.

“There are dozens of appeals filed at the prosecutor’s office about alleged crimes committed by Bacho Akhalaia; we are studying them intensively, gathering evidence and we do not rule out that new episodes will emerge,” the chief prosecutor said.

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