Suspects guilty in 2008 Election Day Khurcha blast

Three people were hospitalized after Khurcha incident., 30 Jul 2014 - 20:10, Tbilisi,Georgia

Two former Georgian security officials were today found guilty of charges relating to exceeding official powers in connection to a 2008 shooting and grenade attack incident that took place in Kurcha village in the Western Georgia on the Abkhaz administrative boundary line the day Parliamentary Elections 2008 were held in Georgia.

In Tbilisi City Court today the men were found not guilty of terrorism but of the lesser charge, which occurred on May 21, 2008.

In addition, the Court Judge issued a verdict on June 30 that sentenced the former head of the Department of Constitutional Security of the Abkhaz Autonomous Republic within the Georgian Interior Ministry, Roman Shamatava to four years and six month imprisonment.

The Judge said Shamatava "exceeded his official powers with use of arms and violence”.

The Prosecutor’s Office was not satisfied with this verdict and said they planned to appeal to the sentence to the higher court.

Moreover, Shamatava will not be allowed to fill a post for 18 months.

The another defendant of the case, a former employee of the Interior Ministry’s special task unit in Samegrelo region, Malkhaz Murgulia, was also arrested on terrorism charges but he was released on bail.

After pleading guilty, the prosecution entered into a plea bargain deal with Murgulia, who received a conditional sentence.

Shamatava and Murgulia were arrested in October, 2013. The prosecution argued a grenade attack on two buses in Khurcha village was masterminded and executed by the Georgian security agencies with the purpose of "terrorising” a peaceful population on Election Day.

During the high profile TV coverage later that day while voting booths were open, Georgian officials claimed the attack was carried out by Abkhaz forces.

Several investigations later showed the incident was most likely staged by unknown Georgian servicemen. The allegation was further strengthened by a UN probe.