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Ugulava: Chief-Prosecutor was convicted of armed robbery

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, December 25
Suspended Tbilisi Mayor, Gigi Ugulava, said on December 23 that the Chief-Prosecutor of Georgia, Otar Partskhaladze, has a criminal past and was convicted of armed robbery in Germany.

“Partskhaladze was sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in a prison in Augsburg. Through the court’s decision, he was deprived of his voting right and right holding certain positions. The punishment is in force until August 2, 2016. The verdict took effect from 14 March 2001,” Ugulava stated, demanding from the current government of Georgia to suspend Partskhaladze from office until the police provides information over this “criminal case.”

The Chief Prosecutor addressed public on December 24, calling the accusations made by Ugulava and the United National Movement (UNM) a “dirty campaign”, aiming to discredit him and the office.

He stressed that he really was in Germany in 2000, where he had an incident with a police officer.

“The police officer made a mistake. He was looking for someone else and physically abused me in public by mistake. The action was followed by my reaction. After the incident, the court convicted me in dispute with the police officer. I was not deported from the state. I have been in Germany several times since and have never had any problem,” Partskhaladze said.

The statement was preceded by a special statement from the Prosecutor’s Office, which said that since the Chief Prosecutor’s Office intensified the investigation of a number of criminal cases, the National Movement has started a purposeful campaign of political blackmail to discredit the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia.

Leader of the parliamentary minority UNM, Davit Bakradze, awaits Partskhaladze’s suspension from office.

“The case concerns a heavy crime, and if Partskhaladze really committed it, he has no right to be a Chief-Prosecutor. He should be suspended from office until we get confirmed information over the case. If the accusation is true, he should leave the position,” Bakradze said.

Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance, Sozar Subari, believes that the UNM is spreading rumors. Subari also stresses that Partskhaladze took high positions under the UNM government and the UNM should have known about his criminal past. Minister of Economy Giorgi Kvirikashvili called the statements made by Ugulava “pure provocation”.

The Minister of Internal Affairs Aleksandre Tchikaidze, said that the issue will be checked. He stated that the Chief Prosecutor had not been convicted, so he could work.

“However, it should be verified whether he has any other past criminal record or not. The law is not violated by his presence on the position at the moment," said Tchikaidze.

Head of Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, Kakha Kozhoridze, shares the vision that Partskhaladze should be dismissed if the criminal record is confirmed. Kozhoridze also stressed that the Minister of Justice Thea Tsulukiani did not know Partskhaladze when she presented him on the position.

“We have this information. We think that some others suggested Partskhaladze’s candidacy to Tsulukiani. More responsibility is required when a man is appointed on such an important position and, at least, Tsulukiani should have known him and been sure in his professionalism,” Kozhoridze said and appealed to the government to study the Partskhaladze’s issue.

Head of the Elections and Political Technologies Research Centre, Kakha Kakhishvili told The Messenger that first of all it should be studied whether the document presented by Ugulava was really issued by the German court or not. “If it is confirmed that Partskhaladze really committed the crime, he has no moral right to continue working on the position,” Kakhishvili said.