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Man who allegedly attacked opposition leader Petriashvili sent to pre-trial detention

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, March 10
Levan Mekvabishvili, 41, who allegedly attacked, shot and wounded an ex-cabinet minister who is also one of the leaders of the Free Democrats opposition party, Alex Petriashvili, has been sent to pre-trial detention due to the risk of him escaping and his previous criminal existed.

Petriashvili, who left the Tbilisi Republican Hospital on March 8, said he did not know the attacker, who is a former athlete and appeared in prison for robbery under the previous state leadership.

The motive of the attack still remains unclear, and Petriashvili said the case would not be considered as open until the second attacker was also detained and their motivation revealed.

Petriashvili also said Mekvabishvili was without a mask and he could easily recognise his face, while his companion, who remains wanted, covered his face.

“Despite the fact I have five wounds, 16 injures and that the two attackers also used baseball clubs and a hammer to more harm me I feel quite fit.

“My and Mekvabsihvili’s ways had never crossed. While he was engaged in robbery, I was promoting Georgia’s Association Agreement with the European Union,” Petriashvili said wryly.

Petriashvili, Georgia’s Former Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, also appealed to Mekvabishvili to cooperate with law-enforcers as the alleged attacker used his right to remain silent.

Meanwhile, Mekvabishvili’s lawyer told the local media that her defendant did not know Petriashvili well, but they met for a short period of time and had a personal dispute.

Police detained Mekvabishvili on March 7 in Georgia’s eastern town of Borjomi, while his companion is still on the run.

The investigation of the case is on the charge of premeditated assault causing serious bodily harm, while Petriashvili and FD members say it was an act of premeditated murder, and the case must be re-branded.

Petriashvili had suffered several wounds when brought to the Tbilisi Republican Hospital shortly after the attack on February 26 at the Saburtalo cemetery in central Tbilisi, where he had visited his friend’s grave with his two friends.

He has undertaken two operations so far.