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Three Former Senior Law Enforcement Officials Charged in Girgvliani Case
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 2 Jul.'13 / 01:23

Charges have been filed against ex-head of Interior Ministry's department for constitutional security, Data Akhalaia, and two other former law enforcement officials in connection to Sandro Girgvliani murder case.

Former interior minister Vano Merabishvili was charged late last month with abuse of power in connection to this same case in which the prosecution claims a massive cover up.

Data Akhalaia, who left the country after last year's parliamentary elections, is wanted by Georgian law enforcement agencies as late last year he was charged with torture and exceeding officials powers in connection to separate, unrelated case.

In connection to the 2006 murder case of Girgvliani, the prosecution claims that Akhalaia was the person who ordered "reprisal" against Girgvliani to his subordinates, which led to death of Girgvliani in Tbilisi outskirts. Akhalaia's defense lawyer denied charges as absurd.

Akhalaia has been charged with torture, abuse of office and illegal confinement.

Data Akhalaia is brother of former defense and interior minister Bacho Akhalaia, who is now on trial for multiple criminal charges.

Two others, who were also charged in connection to this same case on July 1, are Oleg Melnikov, who was Akhalaia's one of the subordinates in the department for constitutional security in 2006, and former deputy head of the internal investigations unit at the Justice Ministry, Davit Chkhitunidze; the latter has been charged with exceeding official powers.

Melnikov, who is already facing criminal charges into separate, unrelated case, was detained in Ukraine in December, 2012 upon the request of the Georgian law enforcement agencies, who are now seeking his extradition. In connection to Girgvliani case, Melnikov has been charged with providing assistance in illegal confinement.

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