Tbilisi City Court found on March 14 a former head of the Interior Ministry’s constitutional security department, Data Akhalaia, guilty of exceeding official powers into the case related to beating up of police officers in 2005 and sentenced him in absentia to 3 years and 9 months in jail.
Two co-defendants in the same case – Akhalaia’s former deputy Soso Topuridze and a former interior ministry officer from the same department Geronti Alania, were also sentenced in absentia to 3 years and 9 months of prison term. The fourth co-defendant Oleg Melnikov, a former officer from the same department, who was extradited to Georgia after being arrested in Ukraine last year, received similar sentence.
In the same case Data Akhalaia was also facing charges of illegal confinement committed premeditatedly by a group and with use of violence; he was acquitted of these charges.
Data Akhalaia’s brother, Bacho Akhalaia, ex-defense minister and former prison system chief, is currently behind bars; he was acquitted in two trials and found guilty in the third one, but pardoned last year by then president Mikheil Saakashvili; several trials into some other charges against Bacho Akhalaia, who remains in pretrial detention, are still pending.
Their father, Roland Akhalaia, is a lawmaker from UNM party. On March 14 prosecutors requested for Parliament’s permission to initiate criminal charges against Roland Akhalaia for allegedly exceeding official powers while serving as chief prosecutor of Samegrelo region in 2009; he denies charges.