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New charges filed against former defense minister

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, July 3
The Chief Prosecutor of Georgia brought charges against the former Minister of Defence of Georgia Bacho Akhalaia on the count of the organization of sexual violence and abuse of official power in the highly publicized death of Sergo Tetradze on July 3.

The Prosecutor’s Office states that in order to get the name of a successful manager, Akhalaia together with the Deputy Head of the Military Police Department and the Director of No. 8 Correction Facility Alexandre Mukhadze decided to obtain confessions by torturing innocent citizens, and to disseminate these testimonies through mass media, as if they had identified the so-called “espionage” group.

“In September of 2011, in the building of the Military Police Department, Akhalaia, Megis Kardava, Alexandre Mukhadze and several officers of the Military Police continuously beat and humiliated an officer of the Ministry of Defence of Georgia, Lieutenant-Colonel Davit Londaridze, Reserve Colonel Sergo Tetradze and citizens Sergey Chapligin and Giorgi Gorelashvili during a period of 4-5 hours in order to obtain a confession of espionage,” the investigation stressed, adding that Londaridze “recognized the crime” only after he was weakened with beating and threatened with sexual violence.

The prosecutor’s office claims that in order to get the next confession, Megis Kardava, together with the officers of the Military Police, with the consent of Akhalaia, physically and verbally abused Giorgi Gorelashvili the whole day, torturing him with various devices.

“In order to obtain a confession, they inflicted severe physical and psychological suffering on Sergo Tetradze, they placed a polyethylene bag on his head and did not let him breathe. Sergo Tetradze, despite the severe physical violence against him, didn’t admit himself as guilty of the crime,” the investigation states, stressing that following his lack of a confession, sexual violence took place.

Deputy Head of the Military Police Department Megis Kardava, Director of #8 Prison Alexander Mukhadze, along with Viktor Kacheishvili and Oleg Patsatsia are sentenced to 9 years in prison. As for Akhalaia, he will face 9 to 15 years imprisonment if found guilty.

Akhalaia’s lawyer Romeo Sajaia states that according to this case, Akhalaia allegedly ordered Dgebuadze and several others to organize the torture of Londaridze and others. “However, there is no testimony of these persons in the case. Vladimer Bedukadze (who released torture videos in prisons prior to the parliamentary elections of 2012) is a key witness in this case. The case was launched in 2011; investigative activities were carried out in 2013. Today they brought new charges against Akhalaia as his detention period is due to end on July 26,” Sajaia said.

Akhalaia himself claims that former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and the Russian Federation are standing behind the developments against him.

Bedukadze states that he was questioned regarding a lot of cases committed by Georgia’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili’s team.