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Police arrest cop-killer in Borjomi

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, April 15
Shalva Abuladze, 38, who is suspected of killing two policemen and wounding two others in two separate shooting incidents in Borjomi and Tbilisi in January and April, was arrested on April 10. He has been placed in pre-trial detention.

According to police, he was found in an abandoned building in his hometown of Borjomi. He had two handguns and a hand grenade with him. Law-enforcement officials claim he tried to flee, while Abuladze’s family claims that he surrendered.

At a trial in a Tbilisi court, Abuladze said he wanted pre-trial detention, as freedom was risky for him.

He named Mamuka Khazaradze, head of TBC bank’s Supervisory Board, as his “one major foe”, He stated that his unfair attitude provoked him to commit his crimes.

Abuladze states that he frequently accused Khazaradze of illegal activities in connection with Borjomi mineral waters. He claims the police were suppressing his relatives and his own hotel was destroyed in response.

TBC bank dismisses such speculations, and excludes any links among Khazaradze and Abuladze. Khazaradze’s lawyer Zviad Kordzadze said that Abuladze would have been sent to detention anyway, despite his wish.

Abuladze, who has a previous criminal record for attempted murder, and spent seven years in prison, now faces charges for the murder of police officers and attempted murder, as well as the illegal possession of firearms. The charges envisage up to 20 years or life imprisonment.

“The state will be merciless to those who were released from jails as a result of the amnesty in 2013, but became repeat offenders, “Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said.

Deputy Interior Minister Levan Izoria mentioned a new draft protecting police officers. Through the draft prepared by the ministry, several police officers should stop and check individuals if they act or look suspicious. They can also use their weapons in these moments in order react swiftly in the case of attack.

Izoria also stresses that people would be sent to prison for illegally carrying weapons.