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Three former top officials charged for especially serious crimes

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, December 14
Several former senior government officials have been charged for serious crimes related to torture and the illegal depravation of liberty under the United National Movement (UNM) Government in 2012.

Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office has released a statement, which reads that former Deputy Minister of Defence Davit Akhalaia, former Deputy head of the General Staff of Georgia Giorgi Kalandadze, ex-Deputy head of Military Policy Megis Kardava and former employee of the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti police department Giorgi Samushia illegally detained a man, and then tortured him for months for to get a testimony on the pretext that the man was planning a terrorist attack in Georgia.

Revealing the details, the official body stressed that on July 28, 2012, Samushia, together with two other men, detained an eastern Gali region resident Elberd Koberidze “without having any legal grounds for this”.

“He (Samushia) forcibly jammed the man into his car, wrapped his head in a soaked cloth, handcuffed him and took him to Tbilisi, to the administrative building of the Military Police,” the Chief Prosecutor’s Office said.

The Office stated that when locked in one of the cells of the Military Police Department, Koberidze had experienced several hour-long sessions of physical abuse from Akhalaia, Kalandadze, Kardava and Samushia to confess organising a terrorist attack.

“They had been beating him violently, spraying CS gas, torturing him with a plastic bag over his head, threatening to have him raped if he continued to deny the crime. In the process, Koberidze lost consciousness and he was dragged to another room, where he was abandoned for eight days,” the Prosecutor’s Office said.

The Office claimed that during this time, Koberidze’s family had no information concerning his whereabouts, despite the fact they had several times addressed law-enforcement bodies to find their loved one.

Uncovering further details, the Office continued that on August 6 Koberidze - still unconscious and having been heavily tortured - was transported to ethe astern Gori Military Hospital, tied to a bed and left there under guard. In order to hide any traces of his disappearance, the former officials registered Koberidze as Eldar Mamaladze in the medical facility.

After being treated in the hospital, Koberidze was again transported to Tbilisi, left near Old Tbilisi district and after several minutes was detained for the possession and use of drugs, as the police “found” 8 grams of marijuana in his pocket.

Koberidze left prison when the Georgian Dream coalition came to power in October 2012.

Samushia has already been detained, while the other three remain wanted.

If found guilty of the charges, the individuals will face up to 17 years behind bars.

The charged individuals’ lawyers stress that the Prosecutor’s Office have no evidence to prove their guilt. They say that the charges are related to political persecution against the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party.

Koberidze himself has made a short statement, saying “everything that was stated by the Prosecutor’s Office was 100% true.”