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Ombudsman Speaks about negligence, abuse of power in Khorava Street Case

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, April 2
Public Defender of Georgia, Nino Lomjaria stated in so-called Khorava Street case, when two 16-year-old minors Davit Saralidze and Levan Dadunashvili were stabbed to death in a street brawl in central Tbilisi, she sees negligence or abuse of power by the officials.

Public Defender said the case has not been properly investigated or some serious shortcomings were revealed during the process. The opinion of the Ombudsman was included in her report 2018, which was sent to the parliament.

According to the 2018 report of the Ombudsman's Office about the state of human rights and freedoms in Georgia, the Public Defender listened to the interrogation of prosecutors and investigators by the Parliamentary Investigation Commission and studied Khorava Street case materials.

“The Public Defender came to the conclusion that the investigation tactics might not serve the public interest of revealing the perpetrators,” the report reads.

Also, Lomjaria considered that the answers given to the commission by the responsible people about the investigation, did not answer the following questions: Why were not some investigative activities carried out or why the investigators took to some measures with delays? Why were not certain investigative activities carried out towards the key figures of the case and why such measures were taken towards less important people in the case?

The Public Defender’s office analyzed the evidence of the case, quality of the investigation and declared the following in its findings: “One or two components of abuse of official powers is evident: negligence of duties, or abuse of powers, depending on what signs are behind the actions of the subjective parties – deliberate ineffective investigation or negligence, lack of professionalism and/or negligence disposition of duties”.

Lomjaria also noted that the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia did not take into account any of her recommendations regarding the case.

Khorava Street incident took place on December 1, 2017. On May 31, Tbilisi City Court charged two minors in connection to the murders - one for the premeditated murder of Dadunashvili and the second for the attempted murder of Saralidze; however, the court stated that could not determine who exactly had killed Saralidze, which sparked mass protests in the capital on the suspicion of an intentional cover-up.

On March 4, 2019, the court made its decision towards one of the people involved in the murder case on Khorava street, Mirza Subeliani, a former employee of the Prosecutor's Office, and gave the defendant a prison sentence of 1 year and 1 month. This decision further raised suspicions of an informal influence in the case.