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The News in Brief

Thursday, August 25
Another Georgian killed in Syria

Another Georgian citizen, Sultan Gumashvili, was killed in Syria.

As was told by residents of the Pankisi Gorge, Gumashvili went to Syria together with his father in 2013.

The rest of the family of the Gumashvilis live in the village of Jokholo. (IPN)

7 Men Sent to Pretrial Detention in Case of Alleged Foiled Attack on Gas Pipeline

Late on Monday, Tbilisi City Court ordered the pre trial detention of seven men who were arrested on August 20 in connection with what the State Security Service said was the plotting of a “terrorist act” to target a section of the gas pipeline, which transports gas from Russia to Armenia via Georgia.

Four men are charged with plotting a terrorist act; one is charged with providing assistance in obtaining and possession of explosives for the purpose of terrorism; one is charged with not reporting a crime and the seventh one, who is a patrol police officer from the town of Poti, faces charges of abuse of his official duties, involving allegedly not reporting crime.

All of the accused men, but one, deny charges. Beka Bekauri, who along with terrorism charges also faces charges related to illegal obtaining and possession of firearms and explosives, has pleaded guilty, according to his defence lawyer Maia Chrelashvili.

Bekauri was not present at the court hearing on Monday; he was hospitalized and required surgery after sustaining bodily injuries during the arrest, including to his head, according to his lawyer. Chrelashvili said that her client told her that he was hit with a rifle butt during the arrest. Bekauri’s relatives suspect that his confession was obtained from him under duress, but his lawyer said that her client denies it.

Chrelashvili said that after visiting her client in hospital in Tbilisi on August 23 that Bekauri claims to be the sole mastermind behind the intended attack on the gas pipeline; she said that according to her client he wanted to act against “Russian aggressors” and wanted to target the pipeline, which carries Russian gas. Chrelashvili said that her client denies having any links to someone abroad.

The authorities are tight-lipped about the details of the case. Prosecutor Giorgi Davitashvili told journalists on August 22 after he was asked about the motives of the alleged crime and possible masterminds: “Because of the ongoing investigation I cannot say at this point whether we are aware or not of who has ordered it.”

The court hearing on Monday was only about the prosecution’s motion for pre trial detention of the accused. A preliminary court hearing, in which a judge has to decide on the admissibility of evidence submitted by the parties and hear various other motions from the parties before the court moves to trial on the merits, has been set for October 10. (

Traffic accidents claimed 7 lives in 7 days

Over the last week, three traffic accidents have claimed the lives of seven people in Georgia, including a 12-year-old boy, while three were injured.

The latest accident took place August 21 on the Gori highway near the so-called Tskhinvali bridge. A trailer and a small Mercedes crashed and both vehicles caught fire. Two women and a child in a small car died. A woman and her 12-year-old son burned to death inside the car, while another woman died on the way to hospital.

On August 16, a light vehicle and a trailer crashed on the Kutaisi-Samtredia highway in western Georgia. Three young people died. All three were in the same light car.

The accident happened on the same section of road where rugby players and their wives were in an accident August 15, when four died. Rugby player Giorgi Lominadze and his wife are still in a critical condition.

After each of the three accidents, an investigation was opened for violation of traffic rules, according to Article 257 of the Criminal Code.

Vaso Urushadze, executive director of Eco Transport Center, tells DF Watch that the road section where two of last week’s fatal accidents took place is a ‘black stain’ on the country, because single lane traffic unexpectedly shifts into two-way traffic and this increases the risk of accidents.

The Interior Ministry recorded 6,432 traffic accidents in Georgia last year, 2,995 of which took place in Tbilisi. A total of 602 people died, while 9,187 were injured.

In the last five years, 2,758 people have died in traffic accidents, as the number of accidents has gradually increased. (DF watch)