Ex-police officials jailed for committing premeditated murder

Former head of the Criminal Police Department of Georgia, Irakli Pirtskhalava, was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Agenda.ge, 30 Oct 2015 - 15:48, Tbilisi,Georgia

Tbilisi City Court has sent three former Georgian law enforcement officials to prison today for the premeditated murder of two citizens in the notorious tennis court case of 2006.

In Court today former head of the Criminal Police Department Irakli Pirtskhalava and two other police officials Giorgi Tsaadze and Kakha Nanaki were found guilty of organising premeditated murder, premeditated murder and faking official materials. 

Pirtskhalava and Tsaava were sentenced to 12 years behind bars while Nakani was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for the murders of Zurab Vazagashvili and Alexander Khubolov. The victims were in a vehicle near the tennis courts in central Tbilisi on May 2, 2006 with their friends when they were shot and killed by officers. 

In February this year during the latest investigation of the case the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia said Khubulov exposed Pirtskhalava’s brother was involved in drug-related crimes, so Pirtskhalava planned to get his revenge, which ended in murder.

The incident happened under the previous leadership. At the time police claimed they returned gunfire only after shots were fired at them from inside the men’s vehicle.

But the families of the two killed men and their lawyers challenged this official version of events.

In April 2007 authorities closed the investigation into allegations that police used excessive force for lack of evidence.

Then after the change of government in 2012, Georgian Dream Coalition lawmakers said new evidence had emerged after the family of slain victim Vazagashvili and his lawyers obtained alternative ballistic examination results that reportedly showed no shots were fired from inside the car.

The case was again thrust into the spotlight when Vazagashvili’s father Iuri Vazagashvili was killed by an alleged bomb while visiting his son’s grave in their native village.