The messenger logo

Pre-trial detention for seven men allegedly planning terrorist attack

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, August 24
Tbilisi City Court ordered the pre-trial detention of seven men who were arrested on Monday with charges of planning a terrorist attack.

Georgia’s State Security Service (SSS) said the detained people intended to detonate an explosive device at the Russia-Armenia pipeline section in Georgia located close to the Saguramo village, about 21 kilometres from Georgia’s capital Tbilisi.

Five of the detainees are facing charges of illegal possession of firearms, ammunition, and explosives with the purpose of carrying out a terrorist attack. Of the other two, a patrol police officer, Levan Mamporia, is facing charges of abuse of power, while another man is accused of not reporting the crime.

Beka Bekauri is the only person among the arrested men who pleaded guilty. According to his lawyer, Maia Chrelashvili, he admitted that he only planned the terror attack and had never intended to partake in it. Bekauri is in hospital now and was operated on due to several head injuries. According to the lawyer, he was beaten by the members of special forces during the arrest operation. However, the Security Service denies allegations, saying Bekauri was injured while he was trying to escape from the police.

According to the family members of Bekauri, he was beaten during the interrogation in order to make him plead guilty.

“He was beaten in order to give the investigators their desired testimony; I do not know whose dirty games he [Bekauri] is being sacrificed to,” the aunt of Beka Bekauri stated.

Another detained man, Vladimer Rukhadze, started a hunger strike on August 23. He made his decision after the Court ruled out the pre-trial decision.

According to Rukhadze’s lawyer, Nino Makharadze, her defendant is not guilty and is going to appeal the Court’s decision. Makharadze says that the charges towards Rukhadze are false and claims he was illegally eavesdropped, accordingly this cannot be used as a proof at the court.

“Vladimer Rukhadze was very offended by the Court’s verdict. He started a hunger strike which will last until an objective decision is made,” Makharadze said.

Malkhaz Salakaia, the lawyer of Jaba Bekauri and Mindia Vashaqmadze, is also going to appeal. He disapproved of the Court’s ruling and said his defendants have nothing to do with the alleged terrorist attack.

The Prosecutor, Giorgi Davitashvili, claims the proofs of the case revealed that all of the detainees are involved in the case.

“The materials of the case proved that pre-trial detention would be ordered for all detainees. The court’s decision is based on the real evidences of the case,” the Prosecutor noted.

The majority say the SSS did 'a great job' and prevented a huge disaster. Head of the Security Service Irakli Sesiashvili said one of the arrested men was often visiting Ukraine. However, he did not specify any other details.

According to Irakli Alasania, the leader of the opposition party Free Democrats, everyone should refrain from speculations and wait for the investigation results.

“The crime was prevented. Now it is up to investigation to answer the questions and reveal who stands behind this crime,” Alasania commented.

The United National Movement (UNM) party says there is too little information about the case for making assessments.

UNM member Giorgi Kandelaki stated the fact that one of the detainees is in hospital raises many questions. He does not exclude the idea that the story is fabricated and serves other purposes. “This case is very vague,” said Kandelaki, and added that linking this case to Ukraine will harm the friendship between the two states.

Some analysts believe that the links to Ukraine mentioned by the SSS head might be an attempt in the midst of election campaign to indirectly point to the former President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, who currently serves as the Governor of Odessa.