The messenger logo

Father of the Killed Teenager Says He is not Fighting for Political Goals

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, June 4
Caption: Zaza Saralidze says he does not believe in fair investigation of the case. Caption: Saralidze said that Kuprava is his friend who offered him a “personal investigation “of the case on the next day of his son’s murder. (TBILISI)--Father of David Saralidze, a 16-year-old who was stabbed in Tbilisi last year, tells his hundreds of supporters that he is not fighting for political goals.

Zaza Saralidze, who says that the country’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office deliberately destructed the murder case materials, addresses people for further support on the streets to help him establish the truth and achieve the punishment of all those who killed his son.

"Politics does not mean anything to me. I am an ordinary man like you. I am not fighting for any political party and if you do not stand beside me, someone will definitely use it,” Saralidze told hundreds of supporters during a rally in front of the parliament building in Tbilisi on Saturday.

However, part of the people, who used to stand with Saralidze in previous days, refused to attend the rallies and told the media or posted on facebook that their decision was because of the involvement of Zviad Kuprava, a former member and the supporter of the United National Movement opposition in the demonstrations.

The people, students among them, have announced separate rallies without any involvement of politicians as they believed that some political forces were trying to make Saralidze’s case political and use the case for their “narrow political interests.”

Kuprava, who worked in the Ministry of Internal Affairs in 2007-2013, under the UNM leadership, is one of the key players of the ongoing rallies.

Rezo Rekhviashvili, one of the protesters supporting Saralidze and demanding a fair investigation of the case, wrote that Kuprava physically offended him and killed his friend during the May 26, 2011 peaceful demonstration of the opposition in Tbilisi.

A video footage was also released, depicting Kuprava’s participation in the rally dispersal. Kuprava says that the video is fabricated.

The man, who is demanding changing of government during the rallies, never leaves Saralidze alone.

When the Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili arrived at the rally late on May 31, Saralidze asked people to listen to the PM, while Kuprava addressed the protesters not to do so and some threw bottles at the minister.

The Georgian Interior Ministry stated that Saralidze’s life could be at risk as some forces may harm him and use the fact to create a stir.

To prevent any negative consequences, police offered a special protection to Saralidze, which he refused.

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. However, Saralidze says that the man hindered the investigation process.

On June 1, 2018 the Tbilisi City Court announced the verdict on the case

One of the detainees was found guilty for premeditated murder of one of the victims-Levan Dadunashvili, while another detainee was found guilty for the attempted murder of David Saralidze.

The teenager accused of the premeditated murder was sentenced to 14 years in prison the next day. However, as a minor, his sentence was decreased to 10 years and six months. Another detainee was sentenced to 13 years in prison and his sentence was decreased to 9 years and nine months.

The court failed to say who killed Saralidze.

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

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 Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze.

The Chief Prosecutor announced about the resignation the same day, claiming that his body has done its utmost for the fair investigation of the case.

The same evening more people gathered the rally. Saralidze and Kuprava, who were initially demanding the fair investigation of the case, also demanded the “change of the regime.”

The Georgian PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili arrived at the rally. Despite an appeal of Saralidze to people to listen to Kvirikashvili, some threw bottles to him and he had to leave the rally.

Shortly the PM stated that the case would be re-investigated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and not by the Prosecutor’s Office.

The Georgian Dream ruling party members say that the UNM is trying to use Saralidze’s tragedy for its political interests, while the opposition responds that the people showed protest to the injustice encouraged by the authorities.