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Ex-official Says Materials of Notorious Murder Case are Fake

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, February 19
(TBILISI) - Former head of the Criminal Police during the United National Movement (UNM) leadership, Zurab Bakradze, claims that the materials of the high-profile Buta Robakidze murder case have been fabricated by former officials.

Bakradze told the Palitra News local media that the former authorities planted weapons at the scene to later state as if Robakidze and his friends attacked police.

“I appeared at the scene after 40-45 minutes from shooting and no one had weapons. The weapons appeared after some time, after 50-60 minutes,” Bakradze said.

Bakradze stated that weapons were brought at the scene by former head of the Tbilisi Police Main Department Zurab Mikadze.

He also said that he had been under pressure by Mikadze and former head of the Interior Ministry press office Guram Donadze for years to keep silence.

Bakradze told the media that the “genuine video footage,” showing the real picture of the incident is still saved by Donadze.

Donadze stated that Bakradze “lies” and he was “persuaded” by the Chief Prosecutor’s Office to accuse others in the case.

“It appears Bakradze and the Chief Prosecutor’s Office have agreed on the plea bargain and for this the Office demanded from Bakradze to point at us.” Donadze said.

He claimed that that there is evidence in the case which proves that Bakradze appeared at the scene in about 5 minutes after shooting and left the scene in about 40-45 minutes.

19-year-old Robakidze was shot by a patrol police officer in November 2004; the police initially claimed that Robakidze and his companions were dangerous, armed individuals and policemen acted in self-defense.

On November 24 of 2004, a car belonging to Robakidze’s friend, Kakhaber Azarashvili, was stopped by the patrol police officers.

There were six men in Azarashvili’s car including Robakidze. All the individuals came out of the car and one of them, Robakidze, was shot by a patrol police officer, Giorgi Bashaleishvili. Bashaleishvili was charged with negligent homicide.

Despite the policeman who shot Robakidze being convicted, Robakidze’s family has been campaigning actively since then, demanding punishment of those involved in the fabrication of the crime scene by bringing in Kalashnikov assault rifles in an attempt to describe the victim as a dangerous criminal.

Robakhidze’s case has been re-investigated under the Georgian Dream government, which came into power after 2012 parliamentary elections.

Trials on the case are still underway.