Former high officials face serious charges

Data Akhalaia was charged with threatening torture, illegal deprivation of liberty and abuse of power., 24 Jan 2014 - 15:25, Tbilisi,Georgia

Three Georgian former high-officials have been charged with threatening torture, illegal deprivation of liberty and abuse of power after the victims broke their silence.

The three accused men are former employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

One was arrested today and two are believed to have fled the country after the Presidential Election last year.

Today, Valerian Metreveli, the former leader of the Constitutional Security Department fifth division, was arrested and charged with threatening torture, illegal deprivation of liberty and abuse of power.

Similarly, Davit (Data) Akhalaia, the former head of the Constitutional Security Department, and Geronti Alania, also of the same Department, face the same charges.

It is believed Akhalaia and Alania are not in Georgia.

The Chief Prosecutor’s Office claimed the accused were responsible for kidnapping two men, Vamekh Abulashvili and his friend Kakhaber Dabrundashvili, and taking them to Okrokana cemetery near Tbilisi.

The Office claimed on October 5, 2005, Metreveli called one of the victims, Abulashvili, on the phone and asked to meet with him to talk. Several days earlier, Akhalaia called Abulashvili’s girlfriend anonymously and asked her to go on a date with him, with the intention of pursuing a relationship.

Abulashvili agreed to meet Metreveli and took his friend Dabrundashvili along to the meeting. The pair were taken to Okrokhana cemetery where they were beaten and abused by the three alleged offenders, the Office claimed.

According to the victims, Akhalaia threatened to kill them and their relatives. They claim Akhalaia pointed a gun at them then shot a round into the air.

Today, January 24, the victims spoke about their alleged ordeal to Georgian media.

According to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office, a notable fact in this case was the place where the victims were allegedly taken. The Cemetery of Okrokana was a place of significance in the Sandro Girgvliani murder case - one of the most notorious cases in the modern history of Georgia.

Twenty eight-year-old Girgvliani was tortured and killed in February 2006. His remains were found near Okrokana cemetery. At the time, Akhalaia and several ex-high officials were linked to his case.

Meanwhile if the three former leaders are convicted of these charges, they face a possible prison sentence of nine to 15 years.