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Tsotne Gamsakhurdia: “Georgian Government Believes Own Lies”

Nona Suvarian, Tbilisi

Tsotne Gamsakhurdia, the son of late Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, first democratically-elected president, was one of those who were blamed for espionage and plotting against government after the infamous protest events in November 2008 and the government violent crackdown on protestors.   Short time ago, Tsotne Gamsakhurdia was arrested on his arrival in Georgia after his long absence from his homeland. After several days in prison the detainee was released after posting a bail.

A documentary film was made on the situation that demonstrated secret audio/video recordings where Tsotne Gamsakhurdia was talking with Koko Gamsakhurdia who is his older brother, Shalva Natelashvili, leader of Labor Party and Igor Volinkin, assistant to Russian Ambassador to Georgia. Based on those materials a criminal case was opened against Tsotne Gamsakhurdia with the accusation for espionage and plotting. He has never hidden his friendship with Volinkin in secret and they very often visited social places together.

“Everybody knew my relationship with certain politicians; like Natelashvili and others. I had and still have close relationship with them. On November 2 and 3 when the demonstrations started in Tbilisi, Badri Patarkatsishvili called me and said the authority intended to open fire upon the demonstrators. At that moment I was visiting Igor Volinkin in Moscow. It is quite natural that I became furious at the information and called several friends in Moscow and Tbilisi shared my astonishment with them. They recorded these phone-conversations of mine. Badri called me several times. When I judge the situation now, I realize that he wanted to cause some sharp reactions from me. The whole charge me plotting against was based on these phone-conversations.”

After November Tsotne Gamsakhurdia lived in Russia. On September 3 he arrived in Tbilisi and law enforcers arrested him the airport. As he reported, he was not abused  during the detention.

“The investigation provided several conversations where some obscure phrases are mentioned. For example: “A certain person will come to your embassy.” However, the main point why that person wanted to visit the embassy or the details why I was calling Volinkin or he called me back are deleted from the recording. Let us suppose that I requested Volinkin to assist a person who wanted to get Visa at their embassy. Then, I received the calls from that person who thanked me for assistance in the embassy. For short, they provided only installed recordings. I did not deny that it was my conversation; just the opposite I verified what I was talking about in the recording.”

Ketevan Bekauri, attorney for Tsotne Gamsakhurdia, pointed out that detention of her client was artificial side of this case because Gamsakhurdia was not hiding and he announced about his arrival several days before the trip. More precisely, Georgian printed media published his statement about his arrival.

Tsotne Gamsakhurdia recalled how the Prosecutor’s Office tried to compel him to admit his charge with police methods.
“The interrogation started at 10:00 AM and lasted till late night. Finally, they told me they intended to discharge me from the accusation on espionage as it was absurd; as for plotting they offered plea-bargain regarding this charge. I inquired whether it was necessary to plead my guiltiness and they denied. It is police method to cut your way in the next moment and make you accept their offer. My attorney and prosecutor arrived and they drew up a document based on which the espionage charge was declined; and plea-bargain was arranged regarding plotting. So they do not demand any confession from me; just they impose suspended sentence. Suddenly, the situation changed. An unknown person came and asked me: “Do you admit you participation in plotting?” I had to obey. If you sign sing this document you will be free. If I had signed that document many innocent people would have been charged for the crime they had not committed. I could not do that and returned to my cell.”

48 hours after the detention Prosecutor’s Office accused Tsotne Gamsakhurdia for one more crime. The incident happened in 1999. One more accusation against the detainee was injuring the person premeditatedly. During the incident that occurred in Vake district in Tbilisi, Tsotne Gamsakhurdia was one of the active participants and as a result of the incident an innocent person was injured.

“As for Vake incident, I made a testimony where I stated that I had conflict with strangers. Initially I fired in the air; however the bullet was shot into a passer-by; completely innocent person. I remember that investigation started on the incident but nobody interrogated me. Leila Gaprindashvili is witness and she is who noticed me in the darkness from 30 meters away.”

Ketevan Bekauri: “As for an additional charge that is envisaged under the Article 117 of the Criminal Code-injuring the person- is the most curious point in the case materials on Tsotne Gamsakhurdia. Law enforcers renewed the case that was discussed 9 years ago. The criminal accusation envisaged under the Article 117 must be imposed on the person within 24 hours of detention. However, in this particular case the charge was imposed only after 48 hours; on September 5 instead of September 4. Consequently, the law enforcers breached the main requirement  of the Article 283 of the Georgian Criminal Procedural Code.”

“I have been living in Tbilisi for 10 years and dealt with thousands of people. Only several days ago I learned that I was wanted by law enforcers for 10 years already and had been a fugitive.”

48 hours after the detention closed court hearing was held. The process was not even documented. After this process ended Gamsakhurdia started a hunger-strike.

“I requested audio-video recording the publicity of the court hearing. I knew that nobody would release me because of hunger strike. My requests were partially satisfied. It would be better if this case would not be kept secret and would be open to the public.”

The attorney stated that if the court refuses to document the process it breaches the law.

“It is envisaged under the Article 12-paragraph 4 of the Organic Law on Common Courts. According to the law the court is able to audio-record the process. The court did not do that.”

 After the process Tsotne Gamsakhurdia was taken to penitentiary establishment # 8. Prosecutor’s General appealed to the court with the mediation to change the imprisonment. The court satisfied the mediation and on September 18 without any admissions Gamsakhurdia was imposed with the bail of 20,000 GEL and was released. Gamsakhurdia has to pay the bail before October 28.

Gamsakhurdia is accused for espionage, plotting against Constitutional authority and premeditated injury to an individual.  . He may be imposed a sentence of 20 years of imprisonment.

However, his attorney expects that the investigative body will drop criminal persecution against Tsotne Gamsakhurdia finally.

The son of late Georgian president stated that his detention was the issue of prestige of certain governmental officials. “Our authority believed in the false story they had invented about me. After the documentary films and launched anti-campaign they had to arrest me. Besides that, somebody wanted to keep me in prison for certain period of time.”

As for the Georgian authority, Givi Targamadze, the chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee for Defense and Security, stated that Tsotne Gamsakhurdia’s arrival in Tbilisi was a provocative step.

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Name: scientist
2012-02-23 11:17
scientists of Europe in support of Georgian Culture (Noble Traditions+Science+Religion which has to be passed from generation to generation without degradation which means stability and grow) emphasize that the pure fact of blaming Tsotne Gamsakhurdia
in espionage (why the noble person may need this nonsence idea of ignorants about effort to support copuntry wealth and culture ?) while the goverment does nothing in the way of improving the life qualities, rights of life ( !!!!! the noble citizen is in the prison -aware!), cutted the science budjet which is still less than it was during time of
communists as it is shown by the unsatisfactory salaries of scientists which are not assumed to be enough for anything what can be assumed satisfactory for life quality of Professor of Science - the fact that
shows bold disorientation of effort in
support of science and many other guilts which goverment is not capable to aware due to lack of
fundamental education about what are the
basis of country stability and as a consequences of the national economical grow ...
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