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Ex-Pardon Commission head reveals MPs “pressuring” him

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, December 24
An independent member of Tbilisi City Council and the former Chair of State Pardon Commission, Aleko Elisashvili, is continuing to claim that Vice Speaker of Parliament Manana Kobakhidze and majority Member of the Parliament (MP) Eka Beselia were exercising pressure on him to pardon some prisoners when he served in the Pardon Commission under the President of Georgia in 2013.

Earlier this month, Elisashvili stated that some politicians used to take “a large amount of money” in return for lobbying for the release of certain prisoners.

He also claimed that he had messages proving his accusations and gave his mobile phone to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia. However, the office stated shortly afterwards that the phone included no messages with any such demands.

Meanwhile, the Kviris Palitra newspaper wrote that Beselia and Kobakhidze were the people who were demanding the prisoners of the so-called Cocaine Case - arrested under the previous state leadership - to be released.

Kobakhidze said that she really wrote a message to Elisashvili, but she had only asked him to show interest in the case as she had served as the lawyer of one of the persons involved in the Cocaine Case.

Until December 22, Elisashvili refrained from naming the people who had apparently pressured him, saying only that the phone number of the person making demands to him started with 591.

On December 23, Elisashvili said that Kobakhidze and Beselia were the people threatening him and demanded the creation of a special investigation commission in Parliament and the suspension of power of the two he accused.

Parliament Chair Davit Usupashvili and some majority MPs stated that there was no need for the creation of such a commission, as the relevant bodies were already investigating the case.

“The stir over the issue is in the interests of the United National Movement opposition party. We should let the relevant bodies to work on the issue,” Usupashvili said.

Meanwhil,e Beselia urged Elisashvili to sit with her before cameras to publicly debate the issue. However, as Beselia wrote on her Facebook page “Elisashvili is a provocateur and a liar, and he refused to do so as he was afraid of the truth.”

The opposition UNM believes in Elisashvili and says that his life is now at risk due to his statements.

Representatives of those involved in the Cocaine Case also commented on the issue, saying that they were sent to prison illegally under the former Government and that they had never paid money to politicians to lobby their release.

They also highlighted that both Elisashvili and current head of the Pardon Commission Zviad Koridze offered them to submit an application in the Commission to discuss the case, as they “might have been imprisoned illegally”.

The Pardon Commission consists of nine men and acts under the President of Georgia. The Commission discusses appeals submitted by prisoners’ family members and relatives and sends the list of prisoners deemed eligible for release to the President for confirmation.