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Sanodze in critical condition after mysterious shooting

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, May 4
Vasil Sanodze, the Head of General Inspection of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia (MIA), was shot in the head late on the night of May 2. Having been immediately operated on at Gudushauri Hospital, Sanodze’s health condition remains critical. This case has caused controversy among the political and civil society. According to Shota Khizanishvili the Head of the MIA Administration, Sanodze was shot from his own pistol accidentally. “Details of the accident are yet unknown to me as I couldn’t have asked Sanodze’s parents anything yet,” he stated.

Vasil Sanodze along with other MIA officials had been accused of ordering the murder of Sandro Girgvliani in January 2005. According to the information released by his friend, Sanodze must have been affected by the aftermath of the European Court of Human Rights' decision on Gorgvliani’s case.

According to information released by Interpressnews Sanodze’s neighbors didn’t hear any shot but heard a shout from Sanodze’s flat while his friends were sure that the MIA official had tried to commit suicide. According to unofficial information, Sanodze left the Restaurant Puris Sakhli (Bread House) at about 4 a.m. with some other guests. As one of his anonymous friends told the media, Sanodze returned home drunk at night and as he was home alone he didn’t let the opportunity slip. Claiming that another group had been working in the night shift, the restaurant guard could not confirm Sanodze’s presence at Puris Sakhli.

Safety measures have been taken at Gudushauri Hospital as several patients were refused entry to the building for doctor’s consultation. MIA and other government and non-government figures have visited the patient at the Hospital but no additional comments have been made around the issue. Georgian MPs hoped that the incident would be followed by a proper investigation.

Counting on an appropriate reaction from the MIA, Pavle Kublashvili the Chairman of Legal Issues Committee said he had heard the news from the media while opposition MP Dimitry Lortkipanidze also hoped for a precise investigation of the case. “It’s impossible to give particular qualification to the issue but I don’t rule out any possible reason but the MIA should make a professional investigation at least for the great civil interest,” he stated.

The administration of President Saakashvili expressed their worries towards the accident without giving additional comments while Nana Kakabadze the Head of Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights spoke of the Governmental footprints around Sanodze’s accident. Kakabadze doubted that it was down to the continuation of Girgvliani’s case. “It will become possible to make additional comments after the investigation gives qualification to the case and defines whether it was an attempt of murder or suicide,” Kakabadze stated. “Even if Sanodze had tried to commit suicide it must have been caused by the Governmental pressure as he had lots of information [about Girgvliani’s case].

Eka Beselia, leader of the public movement Solidarity with Illegal Prisoners also found connections between the two cases. Beselia spoke of Sanodze as the “new victim of internal political disputes” after the European Court decision on Girgvliani’s case. “The only thing the MIA is thinking of now is to choose the relevant version for explaining the last accident,” she stated.