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Inspection suspended on Kerzaia case, no violations found

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Monday, August 26
On August 23, the Prosecutor's Office of Georgia issued a statement saying that the investigation into the death of Ia Kerzaia was suspended. The investigating agency cites that there were no signs of crime in the case.

As the statement reads, “as a result of the investigation conducted by the General Prosecutor's Office of Georgia, the summary decision on the criminal case related to the inspection of Zugdidi Public School N6 was made, according to which investigation was suspended since no violations were found.”

On February 11, 2019, the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia launched an investigation into possible abuse of power by certain employees of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia. The investigation started based on the statement of Bachana Shengelia, son of Ia Kerzaia, the late principal of Zugdidi Public School N6. Shengelia said in a statement that Kerzaia was subject of political persecution and degrading treatment during the school inspection.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, representatives of the Ministry of Education, including the Minister, Mikheil Batiashvili, were questioned on this case. “As a result, the investigation into the case did not prove that there were any signs of abuse of power during the inspection at the Zugdidi Public School #6. Accordingly, the investigation was suspended,” reads the statement of the Prosecutor’s Office.

Kerzaia's son, Bachana Shengelia commented on the decision of the Prosecutor’s Office and noted that he will continue his fight, until everyone who has anything to do with the death of her mother, is punished.

“This is the truth of this government, but it has nothing to do with reality. New criminals are added to the case, as prosecutors and investigators who have been involved in the fabrication of the case, they will be punished along with the main criminals - Gakharia-Batiashvili,” wrote Shengelia on his personal Facebook page, referring to the State Ministers of Interior and Education, respectively.

Vice Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, Tamar Chugoshvili said that it is sad that Kerzaia’s family feel that the case was not investigated properly. According to her, the Prosecutor’s Office should provide detailed information to the family.

“The Prosecutor’s Office should try to properly inform the family, or lead the processes so that the family members have the feeling that a fair decision has been taken on the case,” noted Chugoshvili.

Ia Kerzaia died as a result of a stroke on December 9. Earlier, Kerzaia talked with Rustavi 2 and said that after declining the offer to “help Zourabichvili win the elections, two staff members of the General Inspection arrived at the school on an anonymous letter for a special inspection.”

According to Rustavi 2, water was not supplied to the region on the day of the inspection and therefore the hygiene of the toilets was not maintained. For this reason, they were going to dismiss Kerzaia.

Family of Kerzaia and the opposition speak about the pressure that was put on the school principal that resulted in her death. Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, Levan Kharatishvili responded to this issue and noted that politicization of this case is unacceptable.