Former defense minister and ex-head of prison system, Bacho Akhalaia, who is already in pretrial detention awaiting verdicts into two separate trials, was again remanded in pretrial custody in connection to new charges which were brought against him on Friday.
Tbilisi City Court ruled positively late on Saturday on prosecution’s motion requesting pretrial detention for Akhalaia over new charges involving abuse of power; 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.
Akhalaia denies these charges, as well as all the other legal proceedings against him, as politically motivated.
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.
Decision of the Tbilisi City Court to add pretrial detention to Akhalaia in connection to new charges means that he will remain detained even if not guilty verdicts are delivered in two other separate trials against him.