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Court passed verdict against the underage defendants in the case of Khorava street murder


Natia Gogolashvili

The Tbilisi City Court passed verdict against the defendant G.B, who was accused of the intentional murder of underage Levan Dadunashvili, and sentenced him to 10 years and 6 months imprisonment term; as for another defendant G.J, he was sentenced to 9 years and 9 months imprisonment for the attempted intentional murder.

On May 31, the City Court announced resolution part of the verdict. According to the verdict, G.B is guilty in the intentional murder of the underage Levan Dadunashvili; G.J is guilty in the attempted intentional murder of Davit Saralidze. With the same verdict, G.B and G.J were acquitted in the group murder of Davit Saralidze; however, G.J was found guilty in the attempted intentional murder of Davit Saralidze.

As Zaza Saralidze and his defenders stated, with this judgment, the Court confirmed what they were claiming for several months. Namely, they insisted that different people and different instruments of crime also participated in this crime. 

Zaza Saralidze, the father of the murdered Davit Saralidze, thanked Judge Eka Areshidze for the judgment. He said the judge did not obey the instructions of the system and made brave decision. 

“I want to thank Ms. Eka Areshidze, who made brave decision and disobeyed the system. Until the system is destroyed and everybody is held responsible, I will stay in the Rustaveli Avenue,” Zaza Saralidze said.

Zaza Saralidze’s lawyer Nestan Londaridze said the court confirmed that the prosecutor’s office did not investigate the case effectively.

“With this verdict, the judge confirmed our allegations. The case file was not adequately prepared and several more people need to be punished. We believe, with this judgment, the Judge told the prosecutor’s office that they have not investigated the case substantially and have not identified the murderers. This verdict once again proved weakness of the prosecutor’s office. The verdict underlined that Davit Saralidze had 12 wounds and according to the investigation conducted by the prosecutor’s office and provided evidence failed to verify it. Expertise conclusions confirm that several weapons were used against Davit Saralidze,” HRC lawyer Nestan Londaridze said.

After the City Court passed judgment, Zaza Saralidze and his supporters moved to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia and requested resignation of the chief prosecutor as well as his responsibility for the improperly investigated case. Later on, additional requests were announced: the protesters requested resignation of the government and change of the system. 

Malkhaz Machalikashvili, the father of Temirlan Machalikashvili, who was killed during the special operation, joined the demonstration in front of the prosecutor’s office. He said he will stay with Zaza Saralidze until the murderers of Davit Saralidze are punished. School-pupils and students also joined the demonstration in support of Zaza Saralidze. Political statements were also made during the demonstration; the members of the parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition political parties joined the protesters; the members of the President’s administration and the First Lady of Georgia also arrived at the demonstration.

On May 31, at 7 pm, the Chief Prosecutor made statement about resignation.

“Today, the first instance court passed verdict; the judiciary process will necessarily continue and I am sure all perpetrators will be strictly punished in accordance to the law. We did our best for that – the society should know it. Today, the prosecutor’s office had presented enough evidence to the court to pass fair judgment. The first instance court did not fully share our evidence and we did not receive fair judgment in this grave case. However, the process will continue in the higher instance of the court and I think all perpetrators will be punished in accordance to the law,” Irakli Shotadze’s statement reads.

After the protesters learned the decision of Irakli Shotadze, they walked to the building of the parliament and continued the demonstration there. 

Late at night, the Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili arrived at the demonstration; the protesters did not allow him to say anything; moreover, they threw bottles against him and demanded to leave the area.
Afterwards, PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili held special briefing in the chancellery. He said the parliament will soon establish the investigative commission with regard the Khorava street case.

“Today, the Parliament decided to establish an investigative commission. Soon the parliament will hold special session and approve the commission members, where, as far as I know the majority will be the representatives of the opposition. The commission will start operation as soon as it will be technically possible. Tomorrow, the MIA will get this case back and the Vice Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia will lead the investigation process. He will be head of the investigation team but of course I will also control the investigation process. I want to guarantee the parents and family members of the killed children, that in any stage of the investigation, every day, they will be able to get information about the investigation and will be involved in the investigation process conducted by MIA as well as in the work of the parliamentary commission,” Giorgi Kvirikashvili said. 

Zaza Saralidze responded to the Prime-Minister’s statement:

“The Government already made wrong decision, when they forwarded the case back to the MIA. What kind of investigation they are speaking about?! There are no witnesses and evidence; whom they want to deceive. Do they try to deceive me or themselves? Witnesses are scared; their parents are threatened with the murder of their children if they start speaking the truth. Will anybody dare that? If there are no evidence, what they will investigate? It was stupid decision, as if they created some illusion, I will not agree with that. All perpetrators, whom I named, shall be immediately arrested. It will be their correct step. Otherwise, the system and the government, which supports of the system, will collapse,” Zaza Saralidze said.

Demonstration continued in front of the Parliament on June 1. President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili arrived on the place and met Zaza Saralidze. He, without people and cameras, requested to speak with Saralidze.

“First of all, I wanted to share his pain, which has filled his heart. My purpose is to keep communication with Zaza and other people with similar problems in order to ensure peaceful and stable process in the country. Naturally, I will have communication with the government. I will try to make Georgia common place for anyone, where anybody can find justice and have stability,” President Margvelashvili said.

As Zaza Saralidze and his supporters say, the demonstrations will continue until all perpetrators are punished. The prosecutor’s office and the defense lawyers plan to appeal the verdict in the Appellate Court. The judgment of the city court may be appealed in the criminal case panel of the appellate court within one month period. 

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