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Okropiridze remains in custody due to a new charge

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Wednesday, June 10
Giorgi Okropidze, whose trial has discredited jurors, will not leave prison.

The Prosecutor’s Office laid additional charges against Giorgi Okropiridze for defamation and the Tbilisi City Court sent him to pre-trial detention.

Apart from the charge, Okropiridze is accused of the murder of 25 year-old Lasha Makharadze. He denies the charge and the newly established jury trial has also failed to give a verdict over the case.

The repeated trial with new jurors is scheduled on June 12. If the jurors failed again, Okropiridze should be released. However, based on the recent charge he remains behind bars.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the investigation learned that Okropiridze, having been in pre-trial detention, told the representative of the Public Defender that he was assaulted on September 22, 2014 physically and orally by law enforcers. As a result, the investigation was launched on September 25 about the abusive and inhuman treatment towards Okropiridze.

The investigation is underway in accordance with the Article 373 of the Criminal code of Georgia; in the event that Okropiridze is found guilty, he will be imprisoned for 4-6 years.

The Prosecutor’s Office claimed that Okropiridze lied and tried to mislead the Public Defender’s office and relevant bodies.

After the new charge was brought against him, Okropiridze accused Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili of being responsible for his incarceration,, as when the jury failed to give a verdict over Makharadze’s case Gharibashvili said that the jury system was deemed to have failed in Georgia.

Gharibashvili also said that those committing crimes should be appropriately treated.

Meanwhile, the late Makharadze’s family was happy with the solution. They stressed that Okropiridze was a very dangerous criminal and the Prime Minister said that those who commit crimes should be accountable for their actions, without mentioning any names.

The non-governmental organization (NGO), the Georgian Young Lawyer Association (GYLA), also responded to the fact and released a statement. GYLA has questions as to why the Prosecutor’s Office accused Okropiridze almost immediately after the PM’s statement.

“This creates serious doubts about the independence of the court system,” reads the statement.