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Saralidze: ‘I’ll Meet Anyone to Reveal the Truth’

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, June 5
(TBILISI) - Zaza Saralidze, the father of the killed 16-year-old David Saralidze, having organized large-scale rallies in Tbilisi, says that he will meet everyone and receive support from any force and an individual to reveal the truth over the high-profile case.

The statement came after two different rallies in Tbilisi regarding one and the same case and an offer from the Government of Georgia on the prime minister’s meeting with Saralidze.

On June 2nd politicians from the parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition gathered in front of the parliament building in Tbilisi, demanding the change of the government as the authorities “fabricated the murder-case materials and protected offenders.”

Another rally, with the participation of students, parents of the people killed under the United National Movement leadership was held in Vake Park, calling on Saralidze “not to be trapped” by the United National Movement and join their rally.

Saralidze presented both rallies. He told the protesters that he would meet with everyone and receive the support from any politician or an individual to punish the killers of his son.

Saralidze left the rally after some protesters verbally insulted Public Defender Nino Lomjaria, who arrived at the rally with Saralidze.

Saralidze seemed disappointed after the incident, stating that he could see “no unity” at any of the rallies.

Saralidze did not appear for some period and the public defender stated that he was at a “safe place”, as he did not feel well.

In the evening Saralidze arrived at the rally in front of the parliament, stated that his wife felt bad and that his demand over the change of the government remained unchanged.

He said that today he will meet with the Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili.

Kvirikashvili stated that the some forces are trying to destabilize the situation in the country with their “unreasonable demands.”

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 attempted murder of another victim-David Saralidze.

On the next day the teenager, accused of the premeditated murder, was sentenced to 14 years in prison. However, as he is teenager, 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 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 his resignation on 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 his main ally in the process, former United National Movement activist Zviad 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 at 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.