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Victim of Revenge Was Imprisoned for Twelve Years

Nona Suvariani, Tbilisi

Innocent person was imposed on twelve-year-imprisonment. The reason for his sentence was his friend’s suit. Although the “victim” wants to withdraw the suit the prosecutor’s office does not let him to. The relatives of the detainees claim that the prosecutor’s office has some interests in the case.

Besik Legashvili and Irakli Maisuradze have been friends for many years. The reason of their argument was Besik’s remark to Irakli about his private life. Maisuradze did not like the note from his friend though did not say anything immediately. He decided to revenge the friend later when nobody expected him to do it…another victim of the revenge became their common friend Giorgi Tiginashvili who was sent to prison for six years and a half. 

The incident occured on February 16 2007 in the center of Sagarejo, in Kakheti region, western Georgia.

At about 4:00 PM Besik Legashvili and Irakli Maisuradze met each other in the town center. Irakli was drunk. They saw Giorgi Tiginashvili at the stairs of the local Theatre. Besik asked him to sit in their car. Orthodox fasting period was to be start and Besik wanted to visit St George’s Church. On their way to the church Besik started conversation about Irakli’s personal affairs and made a remark about his relationship with his girl-friend. The friends did not want Irakli to marry the woman he loved. The woman was expecting a child from Irakli in several days.

Irakli stopped the car at his house to take money for fuel; he asked Besik to accompany him in the house to show a mantelpiece there. He often promised his friends to arrange a party near the fireplace in his house. Giorgi Tiginashvili stayed in the car.

Besik had acute neuritis at that time and he could not walk with his back straightened up; besides that he does not have two fingers on his right hand. Grandfather of the “victim” recalled that Irakli and Besik entered the house laughing; his grandson introduced his friend to him and his wife. The young boys went into a room. Being alone there Irakli rebuked Besik for having discussed his love-affairs in the presence of strange people. Turning back Legashvili saw a gun in Irakli’s hand.

“Hold up your hands and give me your gun,” Irakli ordered Besik because the former knew the latter had a pistol. Besik put the gun on the floor. Then turned back and tried to prevent Irakli from shooting. Besik is weaker than Irakli and has his hand injured. He fell on the floor and was holding a barrel of the gun. The quarrel continued on the balcony where Irakli hit Legashvili with barrel on his head. The grandfather ran out on the balcony and tried to seize the gun. Giorgi sitting in the car heard the noise and rushed up to the balcony. Giorgi is a strong person; he seized the gun from Irakli and gave it to his grandfather to hide it. The old man advised the young boys to leave the place.

The above-mentioned story was told by the relatives of the accused and their lawyer. The “victim” Irakli Maisuradze recalls the incident otherwise.

Maisuradze claims that he did not have argument with Legashvili. “I was driving my car when Besik Legashvili and Giorgi Tiginashvili stopped me and got into my car; they asked me to take them to the St. George’s Inn; both of them were drunk. Besik Legashvili was very drunk who sat next to me. Having driven 200-300 meters he drew out gun and pointed at me from the right side. I wanted to stop the car at the police station but Besik advised me not to stop the car near the police and loaded the gun. Giorgi Tiginashvili suggested me to obey his order because Besik was in the position when he could do everything…he was demanding me to give my car to him but I did not obey. I drove to my house to get money for them. Legashvili stuck his gun in the belt and followed me in. I went towards my room…

When Legashvili was leaving my room I took the gun which was behind the curtain and pointed at him. The gun was not loaded. I demanded him to give me his gun and the key of my car.” It was written in the testimony of Irakli Maisuradze.

He does not deny the fact that he really hit Besik with the gun. As for Tiginashvili, he entered the room only after he had heard the noise.

“Tiginashvili tried to stop us and cried “Stop, what you are doing!”. At that moment I lost conscious for a short time,” said Irakli Maisuradze at the trial.

It turned out that Giorgi Tiginashvili was sentenced to six-year-imprisonment because of his words: “Obey his orders because he is in the position when he can do anything.”

Nevertheless it is not the only case that causes doubt in the case materials. Relatives of Besik Legashvili and Giorgi Tiginashvili think that Irakli Maisuradze is only a marionette of law enforcers. In fact prosecutor’s office is interested to arrest Besik Legashvili.

The conversation with Maia Buchashvili, wife of Besik Legashvili, demonstrated that Besik had already served imprisonment ten years ago. “During the first sentence he did not obey the prosecutor’s office and did not make a testimony they expected from him. The officials from the prosecutor’s office claim they would punish him because of disobedience.”

Khatuna Tiginashvili, sister of Giorgi Tiginashvili, stated that Irakli had told her personally that the officials from the Prosecutor’s office promised him a position of a patrol policeman in Batumi.

Khatuna Tiginashvili: “I visited Irakli on the next day. He said that he had no argument with Giorgi and had problems only with Besik. Giorgi was just trying to prevent them from quarrelling. Irakli told me that Zaza Korghanashvili, the head of the district patrol police, makes him write and say whatever they want. (Korganashvili is a brother-in-law of the district governor). The patrol police officer claims that he has some evidences against Giorgi Tiginashvili and he would arrest him by all means. Irakli advised me to make Zaza Korganashvili keep silence about my brother. Irakli’s grandfather added that if Giorgi had not entered the room, a terrible murder might have happened in their family. Giorgi had prevented the disaster.”

Maia Buchashvili thinks that Giorgi Tiginashvili was involved in the case to expose the incident as an organized attack on the victim.

Besik’s wife mentions one more reason for Irakli’s applying to police.

“My husband and I guess that he was simply scared because he knew my husband would not have forgiven him the abuse; he was scared and applied to the police.”

Irakli Maisuradze left Georgia after the incident. He lived in Spain for some time. He even sent a letter with the support of Georgian Embassy, where he stated that the incident was caused by misunderstanding and he had no complaints about the “accused”. He urged the court to pass verdict in favor of Besik Legashvili.

The attorney of Besik Legashvili, Nestan Londaridze, lawyer for the Human Rights Center, stated that the prosecutor could consider the letter as an altered testimony; but they did not want to do it. Having arrived in Georgia, Maisuradze stated at the trial that he does not remember what he meant under “misunderstanding.” One more letter is mentioned in the case materials Irakli had given to the friends of the accused. The second letter is similar to the previous one. “The victim” mentions the incident as incomprehensibility. At the trial Irakli said that he had written the second letter because the relatives of the accused asked him to do so.

Lawyer Londaridze speaks about the violations which were observed during the court hearing.

“On the day of the incident Irakli Maisuradze was very drunk; witnesses had claimed he had drunk nearly 12-13 liters of wine with four other people. I think he had provoked the incident.”

“Although Irakli was drunk he was interrogated on the same day that contradicts the law. He could not assess the facts correctly. Consequently, he made a wrong assessment of his relationship with Besik Legashvili. After making the testimony he was deprived from his right to make a correct testimony. Under Georgian law a person is charged for altered testimony”.

“Both preliminary investigation and court discussion of the incident were carried out incompletely and unilaterally. Sagarejo District Court envisaged only the suppositions of the prosecution party; as for the evidences provided to the court which prove the innocence of Besik Legashvili, were not considered at all.”

“The supposition that a disabled person, who cannot use his right hand properly, breaks into the house to rob it, is unreal. The strange is also another fact: Legashvili, who had an acute neuritis, broke into the house and healthy Giorgi Tiginashvili, another offender, stayed outside. Bezhia Margvelani, Irakli’s grandfather, stated in his testimony that Legashvili could not resist his grandson.

Margvelani wrote in his testimony that Giorgi Tiginashvili seized the gun from arguers and gave it to him to hide. Is it real that the offender, who attacks a family under a gun-threat, gave a gun to the victim? The court did not consider the testimony of Margvelani for uncertain reasons.”

The lawyer claims that Sagarejo Court has passed illegal and groundless verdict and the Tbilisi Appeal Court did not change the initial verdict. Consequently, she intends to appeal to the Supreme Court against the verdict.

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