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Prosecutor’s Office to move forward with prosecution

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Monday, March 23
The Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia released a statement regarding the conclusion of the International Prosecution Advisory Panel on a high profile case March 21.

According to the report, the panel finished its review of a high profile case, reaching the conclusion that the Chief Prosecutor’s Office should continue the prosecution of former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and other high ranking officials for their use of force against peaceful demonstrators on November 7, 2007 and the expropriation of Arkadi (Badri) Patarkatsishvili's property, including IMEDI TV.

The panel started working on the case in July 2014.

According to the report the existing evidence is sufficient to support an indictment and justifies proceeding with the prosecution of Saakashvili, former Georgian Minister of Interior Vano Merabishvili, former Defense Minister David Kezerashvili, former Chief Prosecutor Zurab Adeishvili, and former Tbilisi Mayor Giorgi Ugulava for various offenses.

Meanwhile, Tbilisi City Court has already sentenced Ugulava to imprisonment.

The report concludes that the evidence reflects a unified continuous scheme between 2005 and 2010 to control media reporting regarding governmental activities and to suppress criticism and public protest of the government.

“Including those of 7 November, 2007, through criminal acts involving violence, destruction of property, and fraud, the evidence in particular demonstrates a wide ranging campaign against Patarkatsishvili for his refusal to submit to government control of TV IMEDI and for his opposition political activities, resulting in the destruction and expropriation of his property," reads the report.

This is already the second report of the International Prosecution Advisory Panel. According to the first, Georgian prosecutors were recommended to continue their criminal prosecution against Saakashvili and other former high ranking officials with regard to the attack against MP Valeri Gelashvili in 2005, who suffered serious injuries, including brain damage and multiple fractures.

The International Panel was created in July 2014 under the initiation of the Chief Prosecutor for the purpose to actively review the materials provided by the Office of the Chief Prosecutor, including witness statements, expert reports, court records, Georgian legislation and other relevant materials. The International Prosecution Advisory Panel is composed of Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Moshe Lador - former State Prosecutor of Israel and Paul Coffey - former Chief of the United States Department of Justice's Organized Crime and Racketeering Section.