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Zhvania case yields new details

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, November 12
New people have been revealed regarding the death of late Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania. Muslim religious officials (Mullahs) from the native village of the late Deputy Governor of Georgiaís Kvemo Kartli region Raul Usupov, who was found dead alongside Zhvania in 2005, said that according to Muslim traditions, they washed Usupovís body before the burial and noticed two small red holes on the dead manís nipples and a liquid was oozing from them.

"I thought these holes were from a drip chamber and medical experts did this when they tried to help,Ē said one of the mullahs at the court sitting.

In Tbilisi City Court, expert Levan Chachua, who faced charges of negligence, was also questioned on November 11. Usupovís father, who is sure that his son was killed, asked Chachua why he failed to describe the wounds in his autopsy report. He also believes that poison was inserted into his sonís body through the two holes.

In response to this, Chachua stated that he wrote carbon monoxide poisoning as the cause of death. However, he did not rule out other possible causes of death.

"Carbon monoxide poisoning can be an accident, a suicide and a murder as well. These questions should be answered by the Prosecutorís Office,Ē he says. Usupovís father also states that his sonís clothes were dirty and his son would not have gone to see the prime minister with dirty clothes. In response, Chachua stated that the Prosecutorís Office must study the clothes.

One of the co-authors of the Rose Revolution and a member of the triumvirate, together with Mikheil Saakashvili and Nino Burjanadze, Zhvania, was found dead in a flat together with regional deputy governor Raul Yusupov on February 3, 2005.

Zhvaniaís brother Gogla Zhvania states that the investigation is going ahead and the case will presumably be re-opened this year. The Chief Prosecutorís Office planned to exhume the bodies to do more examinations and find out the truth.

Members of the United National Movement, Zhvaniaís friend Gia Baramidze among them, state that the investigation will detect nothing new in the case.