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Decision concerning Bedukadze remains unchanged

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, July 10
Chief Prosecutor, Archil Kbilashvili, spoke on the argumentation that encouraged him to mediate Vladimer Bedukadze’s complete release from his charges. Bedukadze is the so-called whistle blower who leaked the prisoner torture videos to the public just prior to the October 2012 elections.

After the Prime Minister appealed to Kbilashvili to reconsider his decision concerning Bedukadze, various assessments have been made. Ivanishvili stated that “argumentation provided by the chief prosecutor as a justification why he supported Bedukadze’s full release from charges was not satisfactory.” Ivanishvili stressed that any participation in torture should not be tolerated. The PM’s attitude was supported by both the interior and justice ministers, various members of the majority and the whole spectrum of the United National Movement (UNM).

Minister of Justice, Thea Tsulukiani stated that if she was a decision maker, she would decrease the level or immunity Bedukadze received.

Kbilashvili spoke on the details and provided a concrete explanation of his decision concerning Bedukadze.

Kbilashvili stressed that Bedukadze was the only person who dared to illustrate the “systemic crime” that existed in Georgia's prisons and after releasing the horrible videos depicting the torture of prisoners, abuses were stopped at penitentiary institutions throughout the country.

Kbilashvili shifted attention on the date when Bedukadze delivered the torture videos to some individuals. He said it was September, 2011, the period when there were no discussions on Bidzina Ivanishvili’s coming to power, as Ivanishvili made the statement regarding his political steps later in October. As such, Bedukadze could have no guarantees that any political force would be able to defeat the UNM. “He also did not have a guarantee that I would be the chief prosecutor,” Kbilashvili said, adding that through his actions, Bedukadze put his own life as well as his family's life in danger.

Kbilashvili emphasized that “no one forced Bedukadze to publish the videos and risk his life. There were no commercial calculations either, as there was no real force opposing the UNM at that time.

“He could stay at the penitentiary system, and had a calm careless life... However, he instead decided to act," Kbilashvili stated.

Analysts speculated that the Prime Minister was making plans to dismiss the chief prosecutor, as the prosecutor’s office is still looked at as the weak link of the new administration. On Tuesday, the chief prosecutor also answered questions pertaining to his possible replacement.

The chief prosecutor stated that if there is a decision on his replacement he would take it very ordinarily, as the position is not permanent.

UNM representative, Irma Nadirashvili, said that after his statement, the chief prosecutor left many questions unanswered.

“It was confirmed that there were individuals who had the videos one-year prior to the elections and preserved them until the most needed moment. During this period, the criminal group continued to abuse and torture prisoners in Georgia's penitentiary institutions,” Nadirashvili stated on behalf of her team.

She said that the UNM is interested if there are links between exchange of the scandalous videos to certain individuals and Ivanishvili’s coming to politics. The UNM has since demanded that the names of those individuals who kept the videos a secret be voiced publicly. They also call for the dismissal of Kbilashvili.

Bedukadze confirmed that in September of 2011, he delivered the video tapes to Giorgi Lomia, who is currently the head of the Alliance of Patriots.

“However, we could not manage to spread the videos at that time and we are searching for ways to make the videos public and take them out of the country,” Bedukadze said.

Lomia responded to the statement by saying he had come and received the videos from Bedukadze. “Bedukadze told us about the situation and I asked him for the copies. However, from the beginning, I did not know how to act. I did not fully believe Bedukadze and supposed that there might be some provocation from his side,” Lomia stated.

According to Bedukadze, he will say more concerning the situation on July 10.

Member of Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), Giorgi Gotsiridze, stated that the chief prosecutor tried to justify his decision towards Bedukadze. However, his statements “lacked argumentation.” The GYLA feels that Bedukadze should not have been fully released from his role and responsibility in the scandal.

Human Rights Defender, Gela Nikolaishvili, thinks that Kbilashvili was right regarding Bedukadze.

“Ivanishvili did not take reality into account during the discussion of Bedukadze’s case and some members of the coalition have clearly has an influence on the PM. I am not saying that Bedukadze is an angel. However, there are more pluses in his actions than minuses. He managed to uncover a systemic crime,” Nikolaishvili stated.