A family living in the village of Kolagi in the Kakheti region reported to police that 10 month old Barbare Rafaliants went missing. Police officers arrived and the dead body of Rafariants was found soon after covered wine pitcher. The life of the child could not be saved.
Dead body of a 10 month old child found in a wine pitcher
By Ana Robakidze
Tuesday, October 2
Barbare Rafaliants and her parents were visiting relatives in Kolagi. Witnesses say that the baby was sleeping on the first floor of the house and she was taken away from her bed while the parents and their relatives were on the second floor.
The tragedy immediately quickly raised suspicions that the death was caused by a political dispute. The aunt of deceased child is a member of Georgian Dream Coalition. She said she had been threatened several times by UNM supporters and her niece was killed as revenge on her.
Georgian Dream majoritarian MP candidate in Gurjaani, Manana Berikashvili, made several statements accusing the UNM and their MP candidate George Gviniashvili in the kidnapping and murder of Rafaliants. “This family had been threatened several times and their child was kidnapped and killed this evening; George Gviniashvili should carry the responsibility” Berikashvili said.
Kolagi residents negatively reacted on Berikashvili statements and accused her in using the death of an innocent child for political speculations.
Berikashvilis’s statements have not been supported by the Georgian Dream Leaders. Coalition spokesperson, Maia Panjikidze refrained from making any political statements at a special press-conference held at the Georgian Dream office. She expressed her condolences and called on Kolagi residents to stay calm and wait for the results of the future investigation.
Eka Zguladze, acting minister of Internal Affairs, has taken the case under her personal control. In her interview, Zguladze stated that law enforcement officials have already begun an investigation and everything possible will be done to reveal a suspect. Zguladze is outraged by the fact that the tragedy of Rafaliants family is being used for political purposes, “this is simply irresponsible” she comments.
According the latest information, 2 suspects have been arrested. However, no official statement has been made so far, neither of the suspect's names is known. Merab Rafaliants, father of the child, informed journalists that he does not have any precise information about the suspects, he has only been informed that the police have arrested 2 individuals.