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President's Parliamentary Secretary says he has nothing to do with pardoning convicts

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Monday, September 24
Yesterday, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Georgia launched an investigation into the possible abuse of power in the process of pardoning convicts Ramaz Devadze, Aslan Bezhanidze, Zurab Nadiradze, and others.

On September 19, Irma Nadirashvili, MP from European Georgia, addressed the Prosecutor General's Office to investigate the possible connection of the President's Parliamentary Secretary, Dimitri Gabunia, to the cases of pardoning convicts.

As Gabunia said with the reporters, “these accusations are very hard for me to hear. I don’t even know the list, I heard the names from the media.”

“Along with society, I'm also curious about who made the list, who put it in front of the president and why it happened. When I came back from a vacation, I said at the conference, and also privately to the president, that this decision was unacceptable for me, and she did not say anything,” said Gabunia.

Gabunia was asked by reporters whether Angi Khutsishvili could be linked to the list of pardons, Gabunia said that Khutsishvili is the Deputy Head of the President's Administration and that’s all he can say.

"Due to the interest of the investigation, do not make me violate the law, these people will go to the investigative body," responded Gabunia, noting that he himself is waiting to go to the prosecutor's office.

“I want to know who needed to throw mud at my name. A group of lawyers is working at my request, an independent journalistic investigation is underway. I won’t leave this case unresolved, this is an issue of life and death for me. Such false accusations that took place during the last week, such terror, in the fullest sense of the word, my friends and family are devastated, this should not be happening,” noted Gabunia.

On August 28, Salome Zurabishvili pardoned 34 inmates, including Ramaz Devadze, Aslan Bezhanidze, and Zurab Nadiradze. The Georgian Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation into alleged abuse of power into the recent presidential pardon of convicts on September 20.

Earlier on September 18, Salome Zurabishvili announced that she will stop pardoning altogether until clearer procedures are established. She also flatly denied “speculations” that someone else from her administration, including Dimitri Gabunia, previously a practicing defense attorney, was acting as a go-between for the inmate’s families and attorneys and influenced the pardons.

According to the Minister of Justice, Thea Tsulikiani, President Zourabichvili has also pardoned convicts for drug crimes, theft, and robbery in addition to the three murderers. She talked about this with the reporters.

“The list does not only include three murderers convicted under the article 109, as the public knows, but there is also an article 260, drug offence, articles of theft and robbery, and the public will have further and more detailed information soon,” noted Minister.

On September 19, Zourabichvili announced that she would be putting a moratorium on pardoning, which means she will stop using this right until clearer procedures are established.