The Georgian authorities confirmed on Tuesday that former chief of military police, Megis Kardava, was charged with ordering a contract killing of a former Georgian army general, Roman Dumbadze, who was shot dead in Moscow in May 2012, less than four years after he was released in a swap from Georgian prison, where he was serving a lengthy jail term for treason.
The Georgian State Security Service said that Kardava, who served as chief of the Georgian military police at the time when Dumbadze was killed, is accused of ordering the murder through a middleman.
Kardava is wanted by the Georgian authorities on multiple criminal charges; in one of those cases, related to torture of detainees, Kardava was found guilty and sentenced by the court in 2014 to nine years in prison in absentia.
Dumbadze was the commander of the Batumi-based military unit of the Georgian armed forces up until mid-April, 2004, when he refused to obey orders from the central government and pledged loyalty to then defiant leader of Adjara Autonomous Republic Aslan Abashidze.
Dumbadze was arrested after Abashidze was ousted in May, 2004; he was found guilty on several charges, among them, treason and sentenced to 17 years in prison.
A week after the August, 2008 war, when Russian troops were still occupying parts of Georgia beyond breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Russian forces detained about two dozen of Georgian servicemen in the port town of Poti. Some of them were released few days later, but 12 of them were freed on August 28, 2008 in a swap; in exchange the Georgian side released Dumbadze and handed him over to the Russian forces. Since then Dumbadze had lived in Moscow, where, according to the Russian media reports, he was granted Russian citizenship in 2010.
In 2014 court in Moscow sentenced four men, natives of Georgia, to jail terms after they were convicted in connection to murder of Dumbadze. The Russian media was reporting at the time that according to the verdict the contract killing of Dumbadze was arranged through a middleman, who was from Georgia.
The Georgian State Security Service said on April 12 that “middlemen”, who was not identified, was arrested and convicted in Georgia.
It also said that the case against Kardava has been classified as “secret” and details will not be made public.
The Georgian State Security Service made the announcement about filing criminal charges against Kardava in connection to Dumbadze’s murder after it was first reported by Kardava’s defense lawyer, Malkhaz Velijanashvili, who accused the Georgian law enforcement agencies of “acting upon Russia’s interests.”
Describing charges against his client as “false”, Velijanashvili also said that the Georgian authorities wanted to “hide from the public” that they pressed criminal charges against Kardava in connection to this case.
“Megis Kardava is accused of ordering and organizing murder of Roman Dumbadze… Prosecutors say that the motive of the murder was that Dumbadze was a traitor. The case [against Kardava] is mostly built on information and evidence obtained from the Russian side. So it is easy to conclude that the prosecutor’s office is acting upon Russia’s interests and not Georgia’s interests, which is extremely alarming,” he said.