Court Sends Another to Prison for Khorava Street Stabbing

Tbilisi City Court has ordered a three-year imprisonment for another person in the Khorava Street case, on charges of false testimony.

The person, D.G, who was found guilty by the court, was a minor on December 1, 2017 when the incident took place in central Tbilisi, where two teenagers, Davit Saralidze and Levan Dadunashvili, were stabbed to death in a brawl.

The Tbilisi City Court shared the evidence submitted by the prosecution and found D.G. guilty of committing a crime under Article 370 of the Criminal Code of Georgia which envisages giving false testimony.

The detained will have to spend one year and nine months in prison, as he has already spent six months in prison and the initial three-year sentence was decreased to two years and three months according to the Juvenile Code of Georgia.

On May 31, 2018, Tbilisi City Court charged two minors: one for the premeditated murder of Dadunashvili and the second for the attempted murder of Saralidze; however, the court could not say who had killed Saralidze, which sparked mass protests in the capital.

Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze resigned amid the protest rallies, while then-Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili ordered a re-investigation of the case to answer the many unanswered questions.

Saralidze’s father, Zaza, asked the authorities to show him concrete results and arrest his son’s killers and all others involved, claiming he would not stop until all the offenders were held responsible.

The police detained former high-ranking official of the Prosecutor’s Office, Mirza Subeliani, and Merab Morchadze on charges of failure to report a crime and exertion of influence on a witness, respectively.

The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia (POG) released a statement regarding the case:

“As a result of investigation, D.G. provided false information on the killing of two youngsters in Khorava Street. The prosecution discovered that D.G., who witnessed and knew what the criminal act was, deliberately provided incorrect information to the investigation and the court to prevent the execution of the judiciary.”

The family and the lawyer of the detained call the decision “political,” and say they will appeal the verdict.

Lawyer Pridon Sikhuashvili claims that his defendant is innocent and the victim of a “political decision” of the government, which, according to him, wants to avoid Saralidze’s protests.

“The judge did wrong when she sent an innocent child to prison. He was six months an illegal prisoner and now he will spend his best years in prison. They have deprived this child of all future opportunities to develop,” the lawyer said.

Kakha Ghlonti, father of the detained, says his son was used and had the blame of others put on him.

“Is this justice? We have recordings with Saralidze and others and we will publicize them. My son should not have been sent to prison. We have evidence and we will prove he is innocent,” he said.

By Thea Morrison

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23 May 2019 16:12