PM Irakli Garibashvili lashed out at the United National Movement (UNM), saying that he has “a reasonable suspicion” the opposition party was behind masterminding an alleged kidnap-for-ransom case in which former employees of the Interior Ministry were arrested.
The Interior Ministry announced on October 13 that it arrested four former officers of the Interior Ministry’s Special Operative Department (SOD) and Constitutional Security Department (CSD), now called the State Security Service, who are accused of kidnapping a 19-year-old man in Tbilisi on October 10, demanding USD 300,000 ransom from his family.
Commenting on this case, PM Garibashvili told journalists late on October 13: “The Interior Minister [Alexandre Tchikaidze] was personally in charge of this operation… He informed me that kidnappers have been arrested. This is the face and style of the [United] National Movement. These people [referring to arrested suspects], these criminals were working in SOD and CSD, whom I kicked out when I was appointed as [the Interior] Minister two years ago. I want to remind people in whose hands Georgia was – the entire [Interior] Ministry was in the hands of such criminals, kidnappers, murderers; they ruled the country.”
“Of course it has to be clarified – and the Interior Ministry is working on this – who was behind it. I have a reasonable suspicion that an organized force is behind it and I have an impression that this is directly the National Movement’s style, but of course it has to be investigated. This is what Mr. Tchikaidze was speaking about a month ago,” Garibashvili said, referring to the Interior Minister’s newspaper interview in September in which he accused UNM of plotting “chaos” in the country.
“I want to once again warn these people in whose dirty head this entire cruelty was being cooked up – these are the people who committed Khurcha terrorist act, these are the people who were raping and torturing people in police and prisons, who were abducting and killing people, I want to give them final warning – let them come to their senses. This is the last warning – if they plot something against the state and our citizens, they will be punished very strictly; everyone, who will perpetrate such provocation, will get the strictest punishment,” PM Garibashvili said.
UNM MP Nugzar Tsiklauri said PM’s remarks were “immoral lie”, which contribute to further political polarization and called on the authorities to stop this “practice of splitting the society.”
UNM MP Davit Darchiashvili said that Garibashvili’s comment was in the style of “authoritarian regimes.”
UNM MP and vice-speaker of the parliament, Giorgi Baramidze, said in comments released by the party’s press office: “If Garibashvili has really accused UNM of kidnapping a man, then I will tell him that he’s dishonest slanderer and the worst piece of scum.”