Prosecutor’s office said late on April 4 that an official autopsy report in case of Shalva Tatukhashvili’s death dispels allegations that the latter was subjected to mistreatment by investigators during questioning at Tbilisi prosecutor’s office.
According to the report Shalva Tatukhashvili, who was a witness in prosecution’s case against former high-ranking interior ministry official, died at about 11pm on March 23 in his house from acute respiratory failure, caused by alcohol intoxication in combination with psychoactive drugs.
According to the report, compiled by the National Forensics Bureau, most of the injuries on Tatukhashvili’s body were sustained maximum two days before his death, suggesting that those injuries could not have been sustained on March 18 when he last time visited Tbilisi prosecutor’s office.
Tatukhashvili’s family insists that he was “tortured” by investigators to obtain false testimony. According to autopsy report only a minor bruise on his finger was sustained about six or seven days before the death.
Tatukhashvili family and its lawyer, Irakli Zakareishvili, who at the same time also represents a former senior interior ministry official Data Akhalaia against whom, according to prosecutors, Tatukhashvili testified twice (on February 24 and March 18), said they do not trust official autopsy report.
Hours before the prosecutor’s office announced about the results of official autopsy report, lawyer Zakareishvili released findings of an alternative examination, which was commissioned to an independent Tbilisi-based forensic bureau, Vector.
Examination of bodily injuries in this report was made based on an official protocol of post mortem external examination and photos of the body, taken by lawyer Zakareishvili several days after Tatukhashvili’s death. The report suggests that injuries could have been sustained in a time frame when Tatukhashvili was in Tbilisi prosecutor’s office.
Alexandre Gejadze of forensic bureau Vector, who compiled this report, however, said that his findings cannot be conclusive because his examination was based on protocol of external autopsy and on photos taken several days after the death. He told Rustavi 2 TV late on April 4 that official autopsy report, saying that most of the injuries were sustained in a time frame of two days before the death, does not necessarily come in conflict with his findings.
UNM parliamentary minority group says that in the condition when suspicions over the official investigation still remain, particularly when the Tatukhashvili family does not trust official probe, the best way to address the situation would be to launch an ad hoc investigative commission the Parliament. Lawmakers from the GD parliamentary majority group say that no such commission is required at this stage when official investigation is still ongoing.