Former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili Charged in Relation to A. Girgvliani's Case

2014-11-27 14:01:43

Today, the Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia issued an Indictment against Mikheil Saakashvili, the former President of Georgia, in relation to the crime committed against Alexandre Girgvliani.

The investigation carried out based on the recommendations provided by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to Georgia revealed that we are dealing with the systemic crime.

Precisely, the crime committed against Alexandre Girgvliani was concealed, the investigation falsified, high officials involved in the crime were covered and diverted from liability in accordance with the criminal plan coordinated and mutually agreed between state authorities and the senior management thereof – Ivane Merabishvili, Minister of Interior; David Akhalaia, Head of the Constitutional Security Department; Bachana Akhalaia, Head of the Penitentiary Department; General Prosecutor’s Office; Mikheil Saakashvili, the then President of Georgia.

The systemic crime was expressed as follows:

On January 27, 2006, at Café Shardin in Tbilisi, Alexandre Girgvliani had verbal argument with and Tatia Maisuradze, sitting at the table of Tamar Merabishvili, the spouse of the Interior Minister Ivane Merabishvili, and David Akhalaia, Head of the Constitutional Security Department. Due to the aforesaid, following the instructions of David Akhalaia, the officers of the Constitutional Security Department (who were summoned to the place of incident) forced Alexandre Girgvliani and his friend into a car, illegally deprived them of liberty and kidnapped to countryside, at Okrokana Cemetery.

The kidnappers naked Alexandre Girgvliani and his friend in unbearable cold and severely beat them up.  Corpse of tortured Alexandre Girgvliani was discovered in the vicinity of Okrokana Cemetery.

In line with the attraction of increasing public outcry in relation to this incident, the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili also got interested with the case; he was fully aware that the disclosure of the link of Tamar Merabishvili, the spouse of the Minister of Interior, to the crime, the involvement of the high officials of the Ministry of Interior as well as organization of crime by David Akhalaia, Head of the Constitutional Security Department, would have negatively affected the ratings and the authority of the government. Consequently, the dissatisfaction of public towards the government would be increased and the issue of political and criminal liability of his affiliates – Ivane Merabishvili, Minister of Interior, and David Akhalaia, Head of the Constitutional Security Department – would be inevitably raised.

In order to avoid the mentioned threats, the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, Ivane Merabishvili – Minister of Interior, Bachana Akhalaia – Head of the Penitentiary Department of Georgia, and the latter’s brother David Akhalaia – Head of the Constitutional Security Department, mutually agreed and planned criminal activities with the view to conceal the crime committed against Alexandre Girgvliani, to falsify the criminal case and mislead public. The mentioned plan was implemented with the use of state authorities subordinated to the aforesaid persons.

In particular, knowing for sure that the officials of the Ministry of Interior were involved in the crime, his spouse Tamar Merabishvili was linked to the case and the crime was organized by David Akhalaia, Head of the Constitutional Security Department, the Interior Minister Ivane Merabishvili was obliged to ensure independent and impartial investigation; nonetheless, he assigned David Akhalaia – the organizer of crime – to lead the investigation.

Correspondingly, the biased investigation was carried out by the investigators of Ivane Merabishvili’s authority, which were officially linked to the high officials of the Ministry of Interior involved in the commission of crime and depended on the individuals, who were personally interested with the results of improper investigation. Due to above-mentioned, the objective investigation into the case was never ensured.

In his turn, in the second half of February 2006, David Akhalaia gathered the officers of the Constitutional Security Department that participated in kidnapping and, out of the complexity of the situation created, categorically demanded that several of them should have taken the responsibility over the crime, not naming the persons ordering the crime and other high officials directly participating in it. In return, Akhalaia pledged that the individuals would be convicted of lenient crime and would be released from serving the sentence within the short term based on the act of pardon by the President. In addition, during their stay at prison Akhalaia promised each of them to resolve their daily problems, to provide them with solid financial resources and other privileges, which were related to creating privileged conditions through their stay at the penitentiary establishment.

In several days after the aforesaid meeting, at another meeting held at the Prosecutor General’s Office regarding the determination of persons to be held liable in relation to the Girgvliani case, it was decided that with the view to meet the increasing public demand on punishing the ones guilty in the commission of crime, one of the high officials of the Ministry of Interior – Geronti Alania – should have been charged together with other lower ranking officials. In this way, David Akhalaia and other high officials linked to the crime at issue would have been diverted from liability.

The same day, after taking the decision at the Prosecutor General’s Office, there was a meeting held with Mikheil Saakashvili which also concerned the resolution of the issue of the individuals to be subjected to criminal liability and their early release from serving sentence based on the act of pardon by the President. Mikheil Saakashvili told David Akhalaia that Geronti Alania should also have been charged together with several low ranking officials in order to suppress the increasing unrest in public related to the Girgvliani case; at the same time, other high officials would have been diverted from liability. Herewith, Saakashvili promised Akhalaia to pardon the persons charged after their conviction.

After receiving the aforesaid illegal promises, Ivane Merabishvili, David Akhalaia and other officials of the Ministry of Interior planned and led the investigation into the crime committed against Alexandre Girgvliani in a way to ensure that only the middle and lower ranking officials of the Constitutional Security Department would be held liable for the crime committed, while David Akhalaia and others would be illegally diverted from the liability.

With the view to mislead public and create the false expectation of opening the case, on March 6, 2006, it was publicly announced that allegedly in result of the direct efforts of the Constitutional Security Department and its head David Akhalaia, persons involved in the crime committed against Alexandre Girgvliani were exposed - Geronti Alania, Head of the Unit at the Constitutional Security Department; senior intelligence officers of the Constitutional Security Department: Alexandre Ghachava, Mikheil Bibiluridze and Avtandil Aphtsiauri, who were arrested with the charges of the health damage inflicted to Alexandre Girgvliani resulting in latter’s death and the illegal deprivation of liberty.

For the purpose of reinforcing the promise given by David Akhalaia and expressing his moral support, the Interior Minister Ivane Merabishvili met the accused (immediately upon their arrest) at the pre-trial detention cell in the so called Moduli building, feasted at the cell together with the persons arrested and pledged his support and assistance before them stating that the detainees would face no problems in terms of fulfilling the promise given by David Akhalaia to them, which was actually carried out.

Upon the court decision, Georgni Alania, Avtandil Aphtsiauri, Mikheil Bibiluridze and Alexandre Ghachava were found guilty for health damage, illegal deprivation of liberty and excess of official authority and were sentenced to the size and type of a penalty as follows: Geronti Alania - 7 years and 6 months of deprivation of liberty; Mikheil Bibiluridze, Avtandil Aphtsiauri and Alexandre Ghachava - 6 years and 6 months of deprivation of liberty.

Persons convicted of the crime committed against Alexandre Girgvliani enjoyed the privileges prohibited by the law for the time of their stay at penitentiary institution, as promised beforehand by Bachana Akhalaia, in result of the efforts of the latter.

In addition, in return for the concealment of actual circumstances of the crime and the participation of David Akhalaia and other officials of the Ministry of Interior in the crime, each of the convicts were handed over USD 100 000 in stages.

On November 24, 2008, the then President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili abused his official authority and in accordance with the promise given beforehand to David Akhalaia, through bypassing the Pardon Commission, pardoned the convicts Geronti Alania, Alexandre Ghachava, Mikheil Bibiluridze and Avtandil Aphtsiauri and reduced the prison term thereof by one half. In result, it became possible to apply towards these persons the mechanism of early conditional release and, consequently, they were released from serving the sentence after 3 years and 9 months from arrest.

Thus, joint and mutually agreed criminal activities of various branches of state power, orchestrated by the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, led to the fact that the justice was not administered on the case of Alexandre Girgvliani, the actual circumstances of the case were falsified and David Akhalaia and others were diverted from criminal liability, that caused the substantial violation of the rights of Alexandre Girgvliani’s family and the legitimate interests of the state.

We would like to remind public that the Court had already issued the judgment of guilt against Ivane Merabishvili and Bachana Akhalaia for concealing the crime committed against Alexandre Girgvliani, falsifying of investigation and creating comfortable conditions for the convicts in prison that were non-compliant with the law; as for David Akhalaia, the case against him is transferred to the court.

The new circumstances of the case of Alexandre Girgvliani were established and the Indictment against Mikheil Saakashvili was issued based on the Decision and the recommendations of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (ECHR), within the renewed investigation carried out by the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia.

The investigation on the case continues into the abuse of official authority punishable under Article 332 §2 of the Criminal Code of Georgia that prescribes the deprivation of liberty from 3 to 5 years in the form of penalty.