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Court releases seven squad members of Vazagashvili notorious case

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, August 19
Seven squad members detained in relation to notorious Zurab Vazagashvili’s murder case under the previous government, Iason Miladze, Aleksandre Tsimakuridze, Zurab Jokhadze, Davit Alelishvili, Soso Chakvetaia, Giorgi Gulbiani and Aleksandre Sanikidze have been released from detention.

The motion for their release was presented by their lawyers and granted by the Prosecutor’s Office; active members of the Special Operations Squad posted bail for them.

The defence lawyers stated that the individuals have already revealed all the evidence and there was no threat in their release. The position was supported by the prosecution which stated that the released individuals have named the major decision-makers in the case.

The Vazagashvili also supported the solution and stated that the arrest of major figures of the case was more important for them.

A special operation took place in 2006 in Tbilisi through which Zurab Vazagashvili and Aleksandre Khubulov were killed by police, and their friend was injured. The police claimed that the individuals intended to commit an armed robbery.

Re-investigation of the case launched under the current government of Georgia through the demand of late Zurab Vazagashvili’s father Iuri Vazagashvili, who was exploded at his son’s grave this year.

On February 2, 2015 the Chief Prosecutor’s Office detained 11 former high-ranking officials, including former deputy chief of the Central Police Department Irakli Pirtskhalava for Z. Vazagashvili’s case.

The individuals faced charges that could result in imprisonment for premeditated murder, falsification of evidence and illegal detention.

The Prosecutor’s Office stressed that the murdered people were innocent and the scenario was staged by Pirtskhalava, who on the one hand wanted to take revenge on Khubulov, who sent Pirtskhalava’s brother to prison through his testimony, and on the other hand, wished to upgrade his rating as a policeman fighting against crime.

Commenting on the issue, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili stated then that the most important was imprisoning those people who were giving orders rather than those who had to fulfil their assignments.

The opposition United National Movement (UNM) members assessed the process as political persecution against Pirtskhalava.