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Question remain over Mikautidze case

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, July 9
Human rights defenders believe that there were violations committed on behalf of the police side in Mamuka Mikautidze’s case. According to them the young man might have been brought to suicide due to the violent actions of police officers. Several NGOs, including the Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) and the Public Defender, Ucha Nanuashvili, claimed that the evidence written by Mikautidze reflects various obscure points that raise reasonable doubts that police might have exerted pressure on Mikautidze during his interrogation.

Family members of Mikautidze stressed that the he was taken for interrogation on July 5th. After leaving the Dighomi Police Department he called his family and told them that the police officers beat him and forced him to give evidence against his friend. After the call he committed suicide near Tbilisi Sea. Family members do not exclude the possibility he was murdered.

Through the evidence delivered by Mikautidze, his friend, Gela Manjavidze, visited him by car near the workshop where Mikauitidze worked as a car repairman and tried to give him marijuana that was pressed into a matchbox. However, police officers came at that moment and according to the evidence Manjavidze threw the matchbox from the car window. When policemen asked about the matchbox he denied ownership.

“Police officers took the matchbox, placed it in a bag and took us to the police department. There were two women in Manjavidze’s car as well. Manjavidze told me that they were his neighbors. When the police officers started searching us, the women left the car and went somewhere. I do not know whether they saw how Manjavidze threw the matchbox from the car or not,” Mikautidz’s evidence reads. He also writes that he got the marijuana ten days before the fact.

According to the head of the GYLA, Kakha Kozhoridze, there are signs that Mikautidze was detained illegally without exercising the required procedures.

“There are signs as well in the process of obtaining the desired evidence Mikautidze was mistreated. The fact that there were two women in the car when Manjavidze tried to give the drug to Mikautidze is also noteworthy. The process of giving drugs during the presence of unknown women for Mikautidze is less believable," Kozhoridze stated.

Nanuashvili states that “there are signs of serious violations in Mikautidze’s case.” He emphasized that the Public Defender’s Office will start studying the case.

“I will make a statement when we have complete information concerning the case. Currently, I can say that serious violations are evident,” Nanuashvili stated.

The interior minister’s press service commented over the fact twice. Based on the initial statement, the case was filed under Article 115, causing an individual to commit suicide. According to the following statement made by MIA spokesperson, Nino Giorgobiani, 8 employees of the MIA were interrogated regarding the case, as well as staff members and friends of Mikautidze.

“The General Inspection is carrying out the examination of all the linked individuals concerning the case at the present moment, the outcome of the expertise will be known on July 9,” Giorgobiani stated.

According to independent expert, Aleksandre Gachadze, the reason behind his death and other details will be clear after the internal investigation is complete. “There are some changes on the body through external examination, however, they are not enough to make a confident statement,” the expert suggested.

Head of Parliament’s Human Rights Committee, Eka Beselia, expressed readiness of the parliamentary committee to study the case if it is needed and if the family members of Mikautidze want them to.

“It is difficult to make a preliminary statement concerning the case until the investigation's outcome is known. We will wait for the results and we are ready to study the fact inside the committee,” Beselia said.