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Former official accuses Ombudsman in partiality

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, December 3
The former Defense Minister of Georgia Dimitri Shashkin stated that the report made by the Ombudsman on the Lapankhuri special operation that took place under the previous government and claimed several lives is gibberish.

Dimitri Shashkin underlines that the information provided by Ucha Nanuashvili in the report is false.

Shashkin emphasizes that soon all questions will be answered.

“The ombudsman created a fairy tale. This is gibberish. The bottom line is that the report is based on the opinions of the Kremlin,” he said.

On August 29, 2012, the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), stated that it was carrying out an anti-terrorist operation against an armed group close to the village of Lapankuri in the Lopota Gorge, not far from the Dagestan section of the Georgian-Russian border. Later on the same day, the MIA announced that eleven armed individuals and three Georgian special service personnel had been killed in a clash that had been preceded by a hostage-taking incident. After the initial denials, the Interior Ministry confirmed on September 2 that among the gunmen killed in the clash, two were Georgian citizens.

Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili stated on December 1 that there were many suspicious facts in the investigation carried out under the previous government with regard to the Lapankuri case.

the Public Defender’s 100-page report contradicted various facts written on official papers and revealed there was no armed, subversive group trying to enter Georgia and seven people had been killed, not 11.

"[We] recommend to the officials that they find out why there was a discrepancy between the initial information of the number of deceased members of the illegal armed group (11 persons) from the current data (7 persons),” stated the report.

The Ombudsman says that the report, which was carried out over a 12-month period, revealed several other discrepancies in the initial reporting of the case and called on investigative bodies to address these issues.

At the time, Georgian state authorities declared that members of the illegal armed group had arrived in Georgia from the Northern Caucasus. However, this could not be confirmed, the Public Council’s report stated.

"It is not known when and how the members of the illegal armed group entered Georgia and how the survivors from the group left the territory of Georgia, if at all. Despite official information [stating] all the deceased members of the group (except Bahaudin Kavtarashvili) had already left Georgian territory by August 28, 2012, information acquired by the Public Council confirms the opposite.”

"Accordingly, it is important to determine the ultimate purpose of actions of the representatives of the Georgian authorities who for days issued incorrect information to the public,” read the report.