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Chief Prosecutor Resigns After the Court’s Controversial Verdict

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, June 1
The Georgian Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze resigned on Thursday in the wake of a controversial verdict of Tbilisi City Court on the high-profile case of the murder of two teenage boys in central Tbilisi last year.

Shotadze, who was the first chief prosecutor elected by the parliament in 2015, stated that his office has provided all measures to establish the truth, but the court did not fully take the evidences into account.

The resignation came after the large scale rally in front of Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office the same day, organized by the father of one of the killed teenage boys.

The rally was joined by hundreds of ordinary citizens and politicians. The first lady of Georgia Maka Chichua also appeared at the scene to reveal her support.

The court stated yesterday that the two minors detained for the murder case were guilty. One of the detainees was found guilty for premeditated murder of one of the victims Levan Dadunashvili, while another detainee was found guilty for attempted murder of another victim David Saralidze.

The court failed to say who killed Saralidze, who stabbed him to death.

Zaza Saralidze, father of David Saralidze, stated that the court verdict “proved” that there is someone else involved in the case, an alleged killer, who still walks free.

“The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia fabricated or destructed the evidence to protect a teenager who allegedly killed my son. The alleged killer is a relative of former employee of the Prosecutor’s Office Mirza Subeliani,” Saralidze said.

Shortly after the verdict was announced, Saralidze and his supporters went to the building of Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office and demanded the resignation of the Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze.

Shotadze’s spokesperson stated that the chief prosecutor was ready to meet with Saralidze to speak about the case.

The latter initially refused to accept the offer and stated that during the previous months he was permanently offended by the prosecutors of the case and Shotadze used to refuse to meet him.

Later Saralidze changed his position and agreed about the meeting.

“I appeal to all political forces in Georgia, to all citizens of Georgia, to stand by me and help me restore justice,” Saralidze said.

It was the third rally organized by Saralidze, the previous ones were held in April and May under the name Do not Kill Me, with hundreds of Georgians demanding the fair investigation into the case.

The Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia stated they will appeal the verdict of Tbilisi City Court as the verdict is “obscure.”

They claim that they have presented all the evidences which confirmed that the two individuals charged were guilty in the murder of Dadunashvili and Saralidze.

“I categorically disapprove of the verdict,” Chief Prosecutor Shotadze said during a special briefing the same day.

Shotadze said that in order to eliminate doubts about the fairness of investigation, foreign prosecutors will be invited and get involved in the investigation process.

He said that the Chief Prosecutor’s Office has carried out a “very transparent investigation” and autopsy has been conducted in Georgia and Switzerland.

“I am ready to answer all questions. I take responsibility for the action of any prosecutor in my office,” Shotadze said.

In the evening on the same day Shotadze resigned.

In a special statement Shotadze stated that the case has two sides- legal aspect and the human one.

“I want to personally address the parents of the killed boys: I was and I am by your side. I want you to know that I have done my best to hold the offenders accountable. I believe that my step will convince you that many groundless accusations against me aimed at revenge for my activities during my time the post,” Shotadze said.

He stated that under his leadership many former officials, who had committed crimes under the United National Movement leadership, have been sent to prison.

“I am sure that the restoration of justice will continue and all those who committed crimes against our citizens will answer their actions,” Shotadze said.

The founder of the Georgian Dream Bidzina Ivanishvili stated that Shotadze has acted responsibly and this was the “standard” established by the Georgian Dream leadership.

The Georgian opposition welcomed the resignation and stated that the Prosecutor’s Office provided insufficient and fabricated evidence to the court.

The two 16-year-old boys were stabbed to death in a school brawl in Tbilisi on December 1, 2017.

The Prosecutor’s Office charged two teenagers with ‘premeditated murder of an underage person’, and three others for not reporting the crime.

Davit Saralidze died in hospital due to multiple wounds in his back, while Levan Dadunashvili died immediately.

One of the charged teenagers was detained on December 2, while the other one, who had gone into hiding, surrendered on December 4.

On December 3, the Prosecutor’s Office admitted that the father of one of the students involved in the fight was employed by the Prosecutor’s Office.

They said the man, Mirza Subeliani, had worked in the Department of Human Resources since 2014.

Subeliani resigned on the next day. Saralidze says Subeliani hinders the investigation process.