Prosecutor’s office said on October 25 that it filed power abuse charges against ex-defense minister and former prison system chief, Bacho Akhalaia, who is in pretrial detention since November 2012, and who is now awaiting verdict into two separate trials which were already held against him in the course of this year.
New charges are related to Akhalaia’s alleged role in providing “privileged” conditions in prison to four former interior ministry officers, who in 2006 were convicted for high-profile murder case of Sandro Girgvliani, according to the prosecutor’s office. At the time Akhalaia served as chief of the prison system.
Prosecutors claim that Akhalaia made four convicts’ prison sentence a mere formality and it was part of an alleged deal in exchange of convicts keeping silence over actual events surrounding Girgvliani murder and concealing culpability of other former interior ministry officials, including of Akhalaia’s brother, Data Akhalaia, who at the time served as head of the Department for Constitutional Security.
This is the fourth criminal proceeding initiated against Bacho Akhalaia since he was arrested on November 7, 2012.
Akhalaia has already gone through three separate trials.
In one of them, on August 1 he was found not guilty of charges involving exceeding official powers, illegal confinement and torture into three separate cases.
Although he was acquitted, he remained in pre-trial detention pending verdicts into two other trials.
Court hearings into two other trials against Akhalaia have also ended, but in both cases judges have yet to deliver the verdict – in one case the verdict is expected on October 28; no date has yet been set for delivery of verdict in another trial.
The prosecutor’s office said that it will seek pretrial detention for Akhalaia in connection to new charges brought against him on October 25. Akhalaia denies these allegations, according to prosecutors.