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Court leaves City Hall employee charged for bribery in custody

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, September 1
A Tbilisi City Court judge decided to leave a Tbilisi City Hall former employee charged with bribery, Otar Abesadze, in custody saying his release might put pressure on the witnesses of the case.

The Defense requested the detention to be replaced with a 50,000 GEL bail, assuring Abesadze would not hide from the investigation and would not pose a threat to the witnesses.

The detained man said he pleaded guilty for some of the charges and asked the judge to release him on bail.

“I am only 28 and my whole life is ruined. This is the gravest punishment for me. I am ready to cooperate with the investigation,” he stated in the court room.

Abesadze’s lawyer, Irma Chkadua, says the decision of the court was “not grounded in facts and not substantiated”.

“It is a pity that the court made such a decision, which is not substantiated and grounded in facts. Pre-trial detention should be of a preventive nature and not punitive,” she said.

Abesadze was arrested by officers of the Anti-Corruption Agency of the State Security Service (SSS) of Georgia in early July on charges of accepting bribes.

The SSS said that in May 2017, Abesadze promised a certain citizen an accelerated issue of a permit for the opening of a cafe, Tivi, and the relevant documentation, and in return received $3,000.

After the detention of their employee, Tbilisi City Hall released a statement regarding the issue, stating the government of the capital will not tolerate crime without subsequent a response and will cooperate with the investigation.

Abesadze faces a possible sentence of 6 to 9 years.