Tbilisi Court Finds Ex-President Saakashvili Guilty of Abuse of Power

The judge of Tbilisi City Court, Giorgi Arevadze, has found former President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, guilty of abuse of power in the Alexander (Sandro) Girgvliani murder case.

The judge announced on Friday that Saakashvili had been sentenced to 3 years in jail in absentia, as he is now in Kyiv, Ukraine.

The investigation revealed that Saakashvili had promised then-Chief of the Constitutional Security Department to illegally pardon persons convicted of the murder of Sandro Girgvliani - Geronti Alania, Mikheil Bibiluridze, Avtandil Aptsiauri and Aleksandre Gachava. He then later pardoned them independently via the Pardon Commission.

Irakli Nadareishvili, the Prosecutor of the case, explains that as a result of the decision made by the Strasburg Court, Georgia was commissioned to re-investigate the Girgvliani case.

“According to the results of this investigation, eight people have been found guilty, including Saakashvili and other former high-ranking officials,” he stated.

Sophio Goglichidze, Saakashvili’s lawyer, is sure that the verdict is a violation of the Georgian Constitution, and said that according to the decision of Judge Arevadze, a number of legal provisions were violated. As such, she said, the case is politically motivated.

"It is obvious that political persecution is happening against Mikheil Saakashvili. It was impossible to deliver a guilty verdict in this case by law," the lawyer said.

The members of Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM) also attended the trial. They assure the administrative resources of Georgia and Ukraine are both against Saakashvili.

UNM member Khatia Dekanoidze, once Chief of the Ukrainian National Police when Saakashvili was Odessa Governor, says that the verdict may serve as a reason for Saakashvili’s extradition to Georgia, where the ex-president is wanted on several charges.

“Nobody doubts that the charge was motivated and ordered," she said.

On January 4, the Kyiv Regional Court did not annul the refusal of Ukraine's Immigration Service to grant Saakashvili the status of 'refugee or person with additional protection.' Refusing the status means Saakashvili may be extradited to Georgia.

As for the Girgvliani case, the Prosecutor’s Office (POG) claims that on January 27, 2006, at Cafe Shardin in Tbilisi, Sandro Girgvliani had a verbal argument with Tamar Merabishvili, the wife of the Interior Minister Ivane Merabishvili, and Tatia Maisuradze, sitting at the table with David Akhalaia, Head of the Constitutional Security Department. The POG says that following the instructions of David Akhalaia, the officers of the Constitutional Security Department put Girgvliani and his friend into a car, illegally took them to Okrokana Cemetery and severely beat them. 

The body of the tortured Girgvliani was later discovered in the vicinity of Okrokana Cemetery. 

The POG says Saakashvili and the then high-ranking officials involved in the case concealed the crime and falsified the case materials.

The Prosecution says that in November 2008, Mikheil Saakashvili pardoned Girgvliani’s murderers, adding that he had abused his official powers and violated the law.

By Thea Morrison

05 January 2018 12:17
I a going to learn English in Malta this year.