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Saakashvili faces charges in murder case

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, November 28
The Chief Prosecutorís Office of Georgia issued an indictment against Georgiaís former President Mikheil Saakashvili concerning Aleksandere (Sandro) Girgvlianiís murder case on November 27.

The Prosecutor stresses that the kidnapping and murder of the young man under the previous government was concealed, the investigation falsified, high officials involved in the crime were covered and diverted from liability in accordance with the criminal plan coordinated and mutually agreed upon between state authorities and the senior management thereof.

The Prosecutorís Office claims that on January 27, 2006, at Cafe Shardin in Tbilisi, Alexandre Girgvliani had a verbal argument with Tamar Merabishvili, the wife of the Interior Minister Ivane Merabishvili, and Tatia Maisuradze, sitting at the table of David Akhalaia, Head of the Constitutional Security Department. Following the instructions of David Akhalaia, the officers of the Constitutional Security Department (who were summoned to the place of incident) forced Aleksandre Girgvliani and his friend into a car, illegally took them to the countryside at Okrokana Cemetery.

The kidnappers kept Aleksandre Girgvliani and his friend in unbearable cold and severely beat them up. The corpse of tortured Aleksandre Girgvliani was discovered in the vicinity of Okrokana Cemetery.

The prosecutorís Office stresses that due to the fact the case would have negatively influenced the United National Movement government, Saakashvili and other officials involved in the case decided to conceal the crime and falsify the case materials. According to the investigation Davit Akhalaia gathered the participants of the murder case and said that some of them must take responsibility for the crime, instead they would get privileges and would be released shortly. ďEach of the four convicts: Georgni Alania, Avtandil Aphtsiauri, Mikheil Bibiluridze and Aleksandre Ghachava were given 100,000 USD each, as well,Ē the Prosecutorís Office states.

ďOn November 24, 2008, Former President Saakashvili abused his official authority and in accordance with the promise beforehand given to David Akhalaia over an early release of the individuals, pardoned them and reduced the prison term by one half. As a result, it became possible to apply the mechanism of early conditional release and, consequently, they were released from serving the sentence after 3 years and 9 months in prison,Ē the Prosecutorís Office states.

The investigation of the case also leads to the abuse of official authority that envisages imprisonment from 3 to 5 years.

Girgvlianiís uncle Giorgi Enuklidze welcomed the statement of the Prosecutorís Office. He stressed that some other officials and Vano Merabishviliís wife should also be strictly punished together with Saakashvili.

Members of the parliamentary minority United National Movement stress that all the cases against the previous government members are politically motivated.