Tbilisi City Court acquitted on July 30 former Georgian security official of terrorism charges, but found him guilty of exceeding official authorities and sentenced him to four years and six months in jail in trial over shooting and grenade attack incident that occurred in the village of Khurcha on the Abkhaz administrative border on the parliamentary election day in May, 2008.
At the time the incident in which several civilians were wounded was blamed by the authorities on the Abkhaz militias, but findings of UN observers, who were monitoring situation on the ground at the time, cast doubt over the Georgian version of events.
A year after the change of government in Georgia, two former security officers – Roman Shamatava, a former head of the Department of Constitutional Security of the Abkhaz Autonomous Republic within the Georgian Interior Ministry, and Malkhaz Murgulia, a former officer from the Interior Ministry’s special task force in Samegrelo region, were arrested in October, 2013. They were charged with terrorism and exceeding of official authorities; prosecution argued that grenade attack on two buses in the village of Khurcha was masterminded and executed by the Georgian security agencies with the purpose of “terrorizing” peaceful population on the election day.
Month later Murgulia was released on bail and after pleading guilty the prosecution entered into plea bargain deal with him, receiving a conditional sentence.
Shamatava, who has been denying all charges against him, was found not guilty of terrorism, but judge of the Tbilisi City Court ruled on July 30 that Shamatava “exceeded his official powers with use of arms and violence.”
Prosecutor’s office said that it would “definitely” appeal the ruling to higher court after receiving justification part of the verdict.