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Attorney Burdened Conditions of the Accused Victims


Aleko Tskitishvili, Salome Achba

The students of the Technical University of Georgia, who were wounded in front of the university a year ago, might be sent to prison for 4 years. At the trial on September 23, the prosecutor Keti Chachava requested equal liability for four accused – 4 years imprisonment and fine of 3 500 GEL. As for the fifth accused Roland Nikolozashvili, who pleaded guilty on the previous trial, the prosecutor requested less grave liability for him – 3 year imprisonment and fine of 2 000 GEL.

After the trial, the relatives of the accused cried and complained about the subtle policy of the prosecutor’s office. The negative policy of the plea-agreements, which has been recently introduced into the practice of the Georgian judiciary system, badly influenced the court proceeding on the case. However, secret agreement – an ugly form of the judiciary agreements – took place in this concrete case instead the plea-agreement which is envisaged under the law.

The families of the accused Roland Nikolozashvili and Vasil Giguashvili hired an attorney short time ago who received a guarantee from the prosecutor’s office that if his clients pleaded guilty, and blamed his friends in provoking the quarrel, they would have been released from prison under suspended sentence. The attorney suggested them to plead guilty during the last trials regardless the fact whether they committed the crime or not - it was necessary for their freedom. Vasil Giguashvili did not accept the proposal of the prosecutor’s office and the attorney and did not change his initial testimony. Roland Nikolozashvili “pleaded guilty” and agreed with the bill of particulars completely. Thus, he aggravated the situation of other accused.

The Human Rights Center evaluates the case of the wounded students as a particular case of injustice in the Georgian judiciary system. On October 13, 2009 a group of young people armed with side-arms attacked the students of the Technical University – Saba Mghvdeladze, Nika Beruashvili, Roland Nikolozashvili, Badri Mikatadze, Zaza Shavliashvili and Vasil Giguashvili. Only these young people were wounded as a result of the incident in front of the university building. It was impossible for one person to stub six people; but only one person Levan Abashidze was arrested for the crime, who was soon judged and sent to prison for 13 years. Initially, Saba Mghvdeladze, Nika Beruashvili, Roland Nikolozashvili, Badri Mikatadze, Zaza Shavliashvili and Vasil Giguashvili were victims in the case materials; they even made testimonies at the trial as victims. However, they could not insist that Levan Abashidze had stubbed them. They knew neither him nor his friends and consequently, they could not blame any of them.

After Abashidze was convicted, suddenly the victims were called to the prosecutor’s office as accused and were arrested consequently. Thus, the students wounded in one incident are victims and accused simultaneously. The attorneys still cannot understand what the real reason of similar radical changes became in the criminal case. They suppose the prosecutor’s office got angry with the boys for not having blamed Levan Abashidze in the crime. On the other hand, the parents of the “accused victims” state that their children could not blame Abashidze groundlessly because they do not really remember who had stubbed them in the incident.

On September 23, the prosecutor Keti Chachava read the charge-sheet which she had prepared on the previous days. The defense side and the people in the hall received fragment information about the case. The judge had to re-read the part of the charge-sheet where the charge of the students was discussed.

The charge on the accused Badri Mikatadze is burdened because he is hiding from the investigation. Despite that, the prosecutor requested 4 years in prison and fine of 3 500 GEL for Mikatadze too. It is noteworthy that Mikatadze is represented at the court by his father who is his attorney as well. He said his son was badly wounded during the incident and could not give in at the police and go to prison where he could not take proper medical treatment.

Indeed, other accused, whose fates will be settled by the judge Badri Kochlamazashvili in several days, complain about bad health conditions in prison. Zaza Shavliashvili is in particularly difficult situation who was wounded in liver during the incident. During the pretrial detention, he got ill with C-hepatitis. The prisoner needs immediate treatment at the corresponding medical center where he would be able to take proper medical treatment.

Short time ago, the Human Rights Center appealed to the European Court of Human Rights and requested interim measures for Zaza Shavliashvili in order to provide him with adequate medical treatment. On September 22, the Human Rights Center received a notification from the Strasbourg Human Rights Court which stated that the Court requested the government of Georgia to provide the European Court of Human Rights with the information about the health conditions of Zaza Shavliashvili.

Accused Saba Mghvdeladze, who is also wounded in the abdomen, has tuberculosis of the intestines.

The prosecutor did not mention the bad health conditions of the young people. Keti Chachava did not remember that the accused are students and they cannot attend the lectures at the university. The only palliative circumstance in their case was no criminal record on them.

The prosecutor considered that the accusation against the students under Article 239 Part II – “a” of the Criminal Code of Georgia was grounded enough (hooliganism perpetrated by a prior contest of a group shall be punishable by fine or by socially useful labour from one hundred and eighty to two hundred hours in length or by corrective labor for up to a two-year term or by imprisonment for the term not in excess of five years).

According to 11 witnesses interrogated at the court process, the fight was not provoked by the detainees and it started spontaneously, without any preliminary agreement. This is confirmed by the case materials too. The only evidence of the imposed charges was considered to be the confession testimony of the defendant Nikolozashvili. Certainly, this confession testimony gives insufficient grounds for demanding such a strict punishment. It should be noted that even from Nikolozashvili’s testimony it can’t be concluded that he considers himself guilty in the charge of hooliganism on the preliminary agreement. His testimony doesn’t supervene that the incident occurred in front of the university was preliminary planned and agreed upon,” – states the lawyer of Zaza Shavliashvili, Eka Qobesashvili.

According to her, the court process gave an impression that Nikolozashvili himself didn’t understand or realize what crime he considered himself guilty in. “Neither the judge, nor the prosecutor’s side asked him specifically what crime he was confessing,” – states lawyer.

“The fact that Roland Nikolozashvili’s lawyer Nana Pridonashvili was sent into this case by the Prosecutor’s Office was known for us in the very beginning, but her recent actions convinced us in this even more. The lawyer was putting psychological pressure on the defendants telling them that if they acknowledge the imposed guilt, the plea bargaining agreement would be registered. At first, defendant Nikolozashvili resisted the lawyer saying that he would not confess the crime which he didn’t commit. But, as it seems like, Nikolozashvili didn’t reveal the firm will and followed the lawyer’s advice – gave a false testimony and acknowledged himself guilty in the crime that he never committed. This testimony of Nikolozashvili contradicts the testimonies of other defendants and 11 witnesses who state that the fight was not started by the detainees and the incident occurred spontaneously, without any pre agreement,” – notes the sister of the defendant Nika Beruahsvili, Teona Beruashvili.

According to him, the Prosecutor’s Office quickly needed the “lawyer” who would fall under its influence and make agreements secretly from other defendants. Otherwise, the prosecutor would not have been able to prove the guilt.

According to lawyer, it’s illogical that Levan Abashidze is acknowledged to be the initiator of the fight in the verdict passed against him and in the charge sheet of the case and in the current court process, Prosecutor’s Office considers Zaza Shavliashvili, Vasil Giguashvili, Nika Beruashvili, Badri Miqatadze, Roland Nikolozashvili and Saba Mghvdeladze to be the initiators of the fight. It turns out that Prosecutor’s Office can turn case the way it wants whenever it wants. Two investigative cases of the same crime practically contradict each other that will be emphasized by the lawyers in their defensive word. It’s interesting that on the previous session prosecutor Qeti Chachava mechanically called defendants the sufferers that indicates the contradictions in the case confuses even the Prosecutor’s Office.

What Happened Really in front of Technical University

The fact is that the crime really took place in front of Technical University where the students of first educational year were wounded. They were plucked away from the education process and their health is seriously damaged. Father of Saba Mghvdeladze, Tamaz Mgvdzeladze personally inquired for the details of the incident and got the interesting picture of the crime.

Tamaz Mghvdeladze: “I conducted private investigation and could restore the complete picture of both the start and development of the fight. The fight started in the following way: four young people were in the billiards of “Villa Dzara,’’ drank viski and played billiards. There they fought with another group of young people who oppressed them. These four young people called their three friends and asked them to come for their help to the billiards. Before the additional force came, the guards of billiards took action and kicked all four young people out of the billiards. While coming out, the young people started cursing those who they fought against in the billiards. At this time, Zaza Shavliashvili, Vasil Giguashvili, Badri Miqatadze, Nika Beruashvili, Roland Nikolozashvili and Saba Mghvdeladze, who had just come out of the restaurant “Machakhela” situated near the billiards were standing there at the bus stop with the girls from the same university course waiting for transportation. 4 young people came out of billiards fighting and cursing. At this time Saba and his friends were chatting. Suddenly, the young people who came out of the billiards rushed to Saba yelling at him demanding the answer on what he said about them. This is how the fight started. But, nothing serious happened here. The fight was soon resolved. But, right then three people who were called for help during the fight in the billiards by their friends came with knives. The newcomers didn’t perceive the situation well. They thought that their friends had a fight with young people standing at the bus stop. They directly got involved in the fight and used their knives. I had witnesses – the former officials of “Villa Dzara” who confirmed what I just told you. This chain of events is based exactly on their narration. But the witnesses were scared – saying that they don’t have guarantees for protection and resisted from showing up at the court process.”
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2011-10-23 08:26
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2010-09-28 08:28
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2010-09-26 08:14
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