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Zurab Vazagashvili’s case re-opened

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, February 3
The Chief Prosecutor’s Office announced on February 2 that the notorious murder case of Zurab Vazagashvili, whose father was also killed at his son’s grave a couple of days ago, was re-opened.

11 former high-ranking officials, including former deputy chief of the Central Police Department Irakli Pirtskhalava, have been detained. The individuals face charges that could result in imprisonment for premeditated murder, falsification of evidence and illegal detention.

The Chief Prosecutor’s Office informed that a range of activities had been conducted in order to uncover the details of the special operation taking place in 2006 in Tbilisi through which Zurab Vazagashvili and Aleksandre Khubulov were killed by police and their friend injured. The police claimed that the individuals intended an armed robbery.

The Prosecutor’s Office stresses that the people were innocent and the scenario was staged by Pirtskhalava, who on the one hand wanted to take revenge on Khubulov and on the other hand, wished to upgrade his rating as a policeman fighting against crime.

“Several days before the fatal incident, Pirtskhalava’s brother was detained for the possession of drugs. The police were informed concerning the individual by Khubulov. The detention put Pirtskhalava’s prestige and career at risk,” The chief Prosecutor’s Office said, noting that after the murder of the people in the car, officials of the Interior Ministry chalked it up to “zero tolerance” towards criminals and falsified the case materials.

“More than 100 shots were fired towards the car, where Vazagashvili, Khubulov and their friends sat,” the Prosecutor’s Office said.

Commenting on the information, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili stated that the Prosecutor’s Office under the Georgian Dream government successfully investigated almost all notorious cases that took place under the UNM leadership.

“One more well-known case will be opened soon,” he said.

The United National Movement representatives have stated that the process was politically motivated. They also stressed that the government was unable to investigate Iuri Vazagashvili’s murder and through the recent turmoil tried to recover it.

Member of the opposition Free Democrats Victor Dolidze stated that the Prosecutor’s Office is still run by former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili and the detentions are related to the latter’s statements made several days ago regarding the re-opening of some cases.