Alexi Petriashvili, one of the leaders of the opposition Free Democrats party, was discharged from hospital on March 8, eleven days after suffering three gunshot wounds and multiple other bodily injuries in an attack at a cemetery in Tbilisi center.
Petriashvili told journalists after he walked from the Tbilisi Republican Hospital with the aid of crutches that despite being shot at and hit with hammer and baseball bat, “I am still in a good shape.”
Meanwhile the Tbilisi City Court ordered on March 8 pre-trial detention for a man, who was arrested on charges of being one of the two attackers on Petriashvili on February 26.
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Marina Pilauri, a defense lawyer of the accused man, told journalists, who were pressing her on motives of the alleged attacker and whether he had any relation to Petriashvili before the attack, that her client exercises his right to silence and she cannot say anything.
“One thing I can say is that it is not about politics,” she said.
According to prosecutor, Zviad Pkhakadze, the accused man initially was testifying before investigators, but later, on the advice of his lawyer, he decided to exercise his right to silence.
“At this stage the investigation has identified personal motives as being behind [the attack] – that is for now,” the prosecutor told journalists without elaborating details, adding that according to what the accused man told investigators before opting to exercise his right to silence, he and Petriashvili had known each other even before the attack; the prosecutor, however, stressed that it is according to the accused man’s words.
During the court session, the prosecutor told judge that the accused man is no longer cooperating with the investigation and refuses to name his accomplice. “Moreover, he denies there was another attacker, and tries to obstruct the investigation,” the prosecutor said.
Petriashvili has strongly denied ever meeting the arrested man before the attack and suggested that the assault was “ordered” by someone else.
He also said that unlike another attacker, the man who is now in detention did not wear mask during the attack.
“I remember all the details of [the attack],” said Petriashvili, whose bruises were still visible on his face.
He told journalists that the case cannot be considered solved unless another attacker and a person who “ordered” the attack are arrested.
It emerged on March 8 that a friend and uncle of the man, accused of attack on Petriashvili, were also arrested on charges not related to the Petriashvili case. His friend was arrested on alleged illegal possession of drugs and his uncle on alleged illegal possession of firearms. Defense lawyer of the man accused of attack on Petriashvili said that the arrests were made in an attempt to mount pressure on her client – the allegation denied by the prosecutor.