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Former PMs body to be exhumed

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, October 1
The Prosecutor’s office of Georgia has made the decision to exhume the body of the late Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania. The representatives of the investigational body say that intensive negotiations with international experts are in progress. They stress that various examinations are being conducted and the exhumation date will be dependent on the conclusion of the examinations.

They admit that the family of the deceased prime minister is cooperating with the investigation and they agree to an exhumation if it is considered necessary by the investigation.

Gogla Zhvania, the brother of the late prime minister, also says he has close contact with the investigation and they have detailed information over its progress. He emphasizes that the family is ready to accept the law-enforcement bodies suggestion for re-opening the case.

Meanwhile, the court has resumed hearings on the cases of Mikheil Dzadzamia, the former head of shift of Zhvania’s guard, and Koba Kharshiladze, former head of Zhvania’s guard – both detained in relation to the PM’s death – but their hearing was postponed until now on request of the prosecutor, Malkhaz Kapanadze, who said that he needed more time to get familiar with the details of the case.

This caused detainee Kharshiladze to claim that the Prosecutor’s delayed the trial because they didn’t have enough evidence.

Georgian PM Zurab Zhvania and the Deputy Governor of Kvemo Kartli, Raul Yusupov, were found dead in Tbilisi the night of February 3, 2005. The official version of the investigation stated that the cause of death was a tragic accident related to carbon monoxide poisoning. However, many found this version to be very suspicious and the new government of Bidzina Ivanishvili decided to reopen the investigation.

In his interviews Gogla Zhvania has stated that former President Mikheil Saakashvili, former PM and Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili and former Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili were covering-up for Zurab Zhvania’s murder. According to the deceased PM’s brother, the former Deputy Prime Minister and one of the current leaders of the United National Movement, Giorgi Baramidze, was also involved in the cover-up of the murder and he participated in setting up the post-mortem scenario.

Commenting on the statements, Baramidze repeats an official version drafted under the previous government in that it was an accident and demands more questioning over the issue. He claims that he has not been questioned regarding Zhvania’s case under the new government. He states that statements concerning his connection with the case are absurd.