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Additional charges against the former President

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, August 6
The Chief Prosecutor filed new criminal charges against former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and former Minister of Interior Ivane Merabishvili on August 5. The charges are related to the violent beating of MP Valeri Gelashvili in 2005, who suffered serious injuries, including brain damage and multiple fractures.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, on June 29, 2005, the newspaper Rezonansi published an interview with Valeri Gelashvili, then member of Georgian Parliament, entitled “Valeri Gelashvili will Yield His House in Favour of Saakashvili”. Gelashvili claimed that his property had been unlawfully confiscated without compensation. In the same newspaper interview, Gelashvili spoke about the private life of Mikheil Saakashvili, in a manner which could be considered insulting.

“There is evidence that after the publication of the interview, Saakashvili sought to retaliate against Gelashvili and ordered Irakli Okruashvili, the former Minister of Defence of Georgia, to arrange for a physical attack against the MP. According to testimony from Okruashvili, he refused to comply with the order. The Prosecutor has evidence that Saakashvili then instructed Merabishvili, to beat Gelashvili,” the Prosecutor’s Office said.

The Prosecutor’s Office claims that after receiving the instructions, Merabishvili ordered Erekle Kodua, the former Head of the Special Operative Department and subordinated to the Minister of Interior, to carry out the beating of Gelashvili that took place on July 14, 2005.

Commenting on the issue, Gelashvili stated that the attack on him was planned in Mikheil Saakashvili’s study, and the only man who was against the action was Irakli Okruashvili.

“Okruashvili wanted the issue to be solved through mediators, and suggested Saakashvili to find such a man,” Gelashvili said.

Member of the parliamentary minority Zurab Japaridze stated that all the charges against former officials are politically motivated and the Prime Minister knows beforehand about the charges.

“The Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili stated couple of days ago that more charges would have been filed against Saakashvili. I want to remind him that the Prime Minister should not interfere in the activities of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office,” Japaridze said.

Vano Merabishvili’s Lawyer Giorgi Chiviashvili said that the Prosecutor’s Office will not have any evidence.

The charge envisages 3- 8 years in prison.