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Ex-head of Pardon commission accuses Prosecutor’s Office of “hiding a tape”

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Thursday, January 14
The former head of the Pardon Commission of Georgia, Aleko Elisashvili, has released a statement which reads that the Prosecutor’s Office refused to give him a tape dating back to 2014, which recorded his meeting with Former Prosecutor Giorgi Badashvili and his Deputy Giorgi Gogadze over the involvement of majority politicians taking bribes to lobby for the early release of certain prisoners.

“When I requested the video be given to me, the Prosecutor’s Office responded that they do not keep video materials for more than a year,” stated Elisashvili. According to him, the tape was a significant piece of evidence that he had informed the Prosecutor’s Office over the illegal actions of certain MPs.

Elisashvili, who is now an independent member of Tbilisi Sakrebulo, stated that while serving as the head of the Pardon Commission, some Georgian Dream (GD) members were pressuring him to pardon some prisoners.

He later named them as majority representatives Eka Beselia and Manana Kobakhidze.

Both of the officials denied putting any pressure on Elisashvili and accused him of slander.

Elisashvili says that the Prosecutor’s Office is trying to “protect” the majority MPs.

Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze responded to Elisashvili’s statement. According to him, both Badashvili and Gogadze were questioned regarding the meeting and both confirmed that they had conversed with Elisashvili.

“I do not understand why Elisashvili is demanding a video of a meeting in which the participants have confirmed their attendance,” stated Shotadze.

As Shotadze said, according to Badashvili and Gogadze, the pardon cases were not discussed during the meeting; apparently, other issues were discussed.

As for the case, he said that the Prosecutor’s Office is waiting for the results of a detailed examination and all the information concerning the case would soon be provided to public.

“At the same time, I hope that Elisashvili will finally reveal all the details of the information he has. We have already questioned tens of people over the case, including high-ranking officials,” Shotadze that there are hundreds of videos recorded monthly in the Office, and it was technically impossible to store all of them indefinitely.

According to him, if the investigation confirms the guilt of any individual, all the necessary measures will be addressed against alleged the criminals in the courts.