Property Illegally Confiscated during Former Gov’t to Be Returned to Victims

TBILISI – The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia (POG) stated on Wednesday that families whose properties were illegally confiscated during the rule of the previous government, will receive their immovable or movable property back.

As a result of the work performed by the Department for the Investigation of Offences Committed in the Course of Legal Proceedings of the POG, 47 cases of illegal confiscation of property have been solved and 84 citizens have been recognized as victims. Up to 18 million Georgian GEL worth of movable and immovable property, including 71 vehicles, residential apartments, office and commercial premises, a wine factory, a swimming complex, land plots, etc. are to be returned to affected citizens.

The family of the former Chairperson of the Chamber of Control of Georgia, Sulkhan Molashvili, was handed back their house in Tsavkisi on Wednesday, which was illegally appropriated by the former ruling authorities in 2004 when they arrested Molashvili.

The current POG said that when Molashvili was arrested, then-prosecutors addressed his brother and, in exchange for Sulkhan Molashvili’s freedom, asked him to buy a house in Tsavkisi for 140.000 GEL and then demanded the property was handed over to the government. The family bought the house and gratuitously transferred it to the State. However, Molashvili was not released.

Sulkhan Molashvili died  from liver failure in Paris this June. He was recognized as a victim of Georgia’s previous United National Movement (UNM) government, having been aquitted by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in 2014 after the UNM government was found to have abused the ex-official’s human rights.  

On April 23, 2004, shortly after the Rose Revolution which brought the UNM to power, Molashvili was found guilty of abuse of power, concealing a crime, and misappropriation of public funds, and was sentenced to nine years in prison. He spent four years in jail and was released in 2008 due to the influence of Patriarch Ilia II. Molashvili said his rights were violated in prison, after which his health worsened.

After the change of government in 2012, when Georgian Dream came to power, the current government addressed the ECtHR and requested permission to re-investigate the incident. 

Strasbourg Court then ordered the State to pay Molashvili EUR20,000 in compensation within three months and to carry out and complete a new investigation within one year. Molashvili got his compensation but the investigation into his case is still in progress.

The current POG also already returned illegally appropriated properties to two other people on Wednesday. The POG said all victims of the former government will get their properties back after proper investigation.

By Thea Morrison


03 November 2016 11:10