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Witness raises questions

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, February 10
Ani Nadareishvili, the wife of detained former Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia, claims that the main witness for one of the cases against Akahalaia was “kidnapped” by the authorities when he was trying to give important information to the media on February 8. However, the witness, Gia Gorgadze, denies the information, stressing that he had a different reason for meeting with media representatives.

On January 12, 2014, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia imposed liability on the former Head of the Department of Corrections Bachana Akhalaia and former Director of the Prison No. 7 Megis Kardava, as the defendants, on the account of the torture of prisoners in order to get their confessions in preparation of the mass escape of the prisoners from Rustavi #1 prison.

The investigation states that inmate Gia Gorgadze notified the director of the facility, that he got an offer from one of the prisoners to escape from the prison and he expressed his readiness to cooperate with the administration of the prison. In regard to this issue, Bachana Akhalaia had a direct meeting with Gorgadze in the prison and agreed with him that his brother Shota Gorgadze would help him to suppress the preparation of a possible prison break.

In accordance with Akhalaia’s instructions, Gorgadze phoned his brother Shota from the prison, who together with his friends Roman Surmanidze and Marad Artmelidze was in Tsalka, at a christening ceremony. At the request of his brother, Shota Gorgadze came to Tbilisi together with his friends. However, on January 12, 2006 the Department of Constitutional Security, under the direction of Akhalaia planned and carried out a special operation, during which Shota Gorgadze and his friends were killed near the Navtlughi bus terminal, under the suspicious circumstances. Further to the special operation, Gia Gorgadze received a call in the prison on his cell phone number, and was told that they had killed his brother and they were going to prison to take care of him too.

Upon the completion of the special operation, Akhalaia and Kardava arrived at facility No. 1 of the Department of Corrections, escorted by riot police officers, and according to the order by Akhalaia, the prisoners there were tortured in order to get a confession that a riot was being planned at the facility.

Nadareishvili claims that Gorgadze wanted to tell the truth that he was forced by the authorities to accuse Akhalaia, when he has never seen Akhalaia.

“We planned a press conference at the Prime Time press club. However, as soon as Gorgadze came, he was taken by law-enforcers in the yard. As it seems, our telephone conversation on a press-conference planning was eavesdropped,” Nadareishvili stated.

After questioning at the Prosecutor’s Office, Gorgadze stated that he really planned to hold a press conference.

“I was going to demand punishment of those who killed my brother,” Gorgadze said.

A statement was also released by the Prosecutor’s Office. According to the office, Gorgadze’s family members contacted the Chief Prosecutor’s Office, and informed the law enforcement officers that they did not know the whereabouts of Gia Gorgadze, the mobile phone he was using was switched off and they expressed doubt that he had been kidnapped due to his incriminating statements against Akhalaia and Kardava, and they asked for help.

“Based on the aforementioned statement, The Chief Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into the illegal confinement of Gia Gorgadze, appropriate measures have been taken immediately, Gorgadze’s location has been established, and as a result, he was brought to an investigative body for the purposes of interrogation and conducting a proper investigation,” the Prosecutor’s Office state.

Head of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, Kakha Kozhoridze, states that taking Gorgadze to the Prosecutor’s Office when he was going to hold a press conference raises some questions.