MIA Releases Official Statement on Detention of 17 Youngsters

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has released an official statement on the detention of 17 youngsters in connection with the death of Giorgi Shakarashvili, a 19-year-old footballer who passed away in unclear circumstances a few days ago. 

The Deputy Interior Minister Vladimer Botsvadze stated at a briefing today that the forensic examination has not been completed yet, therefore, the cause of Shakarashvili's death is unknown, and investigations are underway on all possible versions.

In his words, after determining the immediate cause of death, the qualification of the case may be changed and the accusations may be aggravated.

"As a result of operative-investigative actions carried out at this stage of the criminal case, it has been established that the detainees committed illegal deprivation of liberty, and group violence against two or more persons. The mentioned crimes are punishable with 4 to 10 years of imprisonment.

"In particular, on June 18, 2020, a verbal confrontation took place between two groups of teenagers visiting the Narekvavi settlement in Mtskheta, which turned into physical violence. After the physical confrontation, one of the groups involved in the conflict returned to Tbilisi, organized group violence for revenge, and drove to Mtskheta.

"On the Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze highway, near the Narekvavi settlement, members of the organized group attacked the teenagers on the road and physically assaulted them, during which Giorgi Shakarashvili and his accomplices fled to the Aragvi River to avoid violence.

"Members of the organized group chased them and illegally detained Shakarashvili's friend, G.A. 

"Giorgi Shakarashvili's body was found in the Aragvi River as a result of 4-day rescue operations.

"As the forensic examination has not been completed and, therefore, the cause of death of Giorgi Shakarashvili is unknown, investigative actions are underway on all possible versions. Once the immediate cause of death has been determined, the qualification of the case may be changed and the charges aggravated.

"We are still actively cooperating with the family of the deceased and immediately providing information on the progress and results of the investigation," stated the Deputy Minister. 

Rugby players Archil Gagnidze and Vasil Makharadze are among the detainees, allegedly charged under Article 143 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which envisages unlawful deprivation of liberty.

Judoka Giga Tatiashvili, allegedly charged with violence, is also among the detainees. 

By Ana Dumbadze 

Related Story: 17 Individuals Detained in Connection with Giorgi Shakarashvili's Case

26 June 2020 14:30