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New evidence surfaces regarding Zurab Zhvania’s death

By Ana Robakidze
Monday, October 21
Giorgi Zhvania, the brother of the deceased PM, Giorgi Zhvania, states that new facts have surfaced in the investigation of his brother’s death.

The investigation into the former PM’s death was reopened by the new government, and new evidence has been made available to the Zhvania family.

“These new details will be a precondition for solving the case soon,” Giorgi Zhvania commented regarding about the new evidence, which has been recently made available to the Zhvania family. It is not excluded that in the interest of the investigation, his body may be exhumed. "New facts clearly indicate that Zurab Zhvania was murdered and not gassed," Giorgi Zhvania said.

Georgian PM Zurab Zhvania and the Deputy Governor of Kvemo Kartli, Raul Yusupov, were found dead in Tbilisi the night of February 3, 2005. The official version of the investigation stated that the cause of death was a tragic accident related to carbon monoxide poisoning. However, many found this version to be very suspicious and the new government of Bidzina Ivanishvili decided to reopen the investigation.

In his interview with TV Imedi, Giorgi Zhvania made some scandalous statements and said President Mikheil Saakashvili, former PM and Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili and former Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili are covering-up for Zurab Zhvania’s murder. According to the deceased PM’s brother, former Deputy Prime Minister and one of the current leaders of the United National Movement, Giorgi Baramidze, was also involved in the covering-up the murder and he participated in setting up the post-mortem scenario. Zhvania also stated in his interview that a “picture of the accident” had been created and all the items the investigation discovered at the scene had been brought there on purpose.

Rashur Yusupov, the father of Raul Yusupov, who was found dead near the body of Zhvania in an apartment in Tbilisi, also commented on the reopened investigation and said that in the case the newly surfaced evidence is not enough to restore an accurate picture of the tragedy, the bodies will be exhumed. Both the Zhvania and Yusupov families say the investigation has reached the final stage and the truth will be disclosed within a few months.

Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani and Prosecutor in Chief Archil Kbiklashvili both have stated many times that shedding light on the former PM’s death was a major priority of the new government.

“The country must know why the prime minister, for whom people had hopes, died,” Tsulukiani stated earlier this week. The minister is sure that the official scenario is without a solid basis and the bodies of Zhvania and Usufov should be exhumed of course with the authorization of the families.

Kbilashvili has not commented on Giorgi Zhvania’s statements, but he confirmed that in the process of the investigation, new evidence has been revealed and his office has come up with new theories about the PM’s death. “An intensive investigation process is underway. Of course it would be wrong if I make any prediction of the investigation results,” Kbilashvili stated on October 18th and called on society to be patient and wait for the official announcement from the prosecutor’s office.