Prosecutor’s Office prepares to exhume late PM’s body

Ex-PM Zurab Zhvania was one of the main contributors of the 2003 Rose Revolution and an ally of ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili., 30 Sep 2014 - 18:44, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Chief Prosecutor’s Office has decided to exhume the body of late Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania to establish the real cause of his death.

The body of Deputy Governor of Kvemo Kartli region Raul Usupov, who was found dead alongside the late PM in 2005, will also be exhumed.

Prosecutor’s Office representatives said they did not yet know the exact date of the exhumation but negotiations with "authoritative” international experts were in progress.

"The [pre-exhumation] examinations are being carried out and the decision on when the exhumation will take place will be made in accordance with the conclusions of these examinations,” Prosecutor Revaz Nadoi said today.

The family of the late PM cooperated with the investigation and said they would agree to the exhumation of their loved one only if it was considered "necessary” by investigators.

Gogla Zhvania, the late PM’s brother, said his family had detailed information about how the investigation was progressing.

Meanwhile, Tbilisi City Court resumed hearings on the cases of former officials Mikheil Dzadzamia and Koba Kharshiladze, who were arrested in connection with the death of Zhvania.

The two men were the late PM’s security guard shift managers and were charged with negligence due to their "careless attitude towards their work, which inadvertently caused the death of Zhvania”, the Prosecutor’s Office said.

The Office stated in order to ensure the safety of Zhvania and his family, an obligatory security plan had been developed where the PM’s security guards had to protect the leader at all times and not abandon their role. Despite this, on the night of February 2, 2005, Dzadzamia and Kharshiladze improperly fulfilled their duties and abandoned their post, which left the PM without any protection. Early the following morning Zhvania was found dead.

The bodies of Zhvania and Usupov were found in a rented apartment in the early morning of February 3, 2005. The official cause of the men’s deaths has not been determined but officials believed the men died from carbon monoxide poisoning from a poorly ventilated gas heater.

Meanwhile on March 19, 2013, graphic and disturbing images of the dead bodies of Zhvania and Usupov were leaked on the internet. A one-minute photo collage of 12 images titled "Saakashvili killed Mr. Zurab Zhvania” was uploaded by a user named Hakim Pasha. The montage contained still photos of the bodies that identified a number of possible injuries that could be relevant to the men’s deaths.

Today, investigators announced they found out the video had been uploaded from somewhere in Turkey but they did not know who was responsible for uploading it.

Meanwhile at today’s hearing the defendant’s side said they wanted the controversial video removed from the case file. Furthermore, the Prosecutor’s Office asked the Court to remove several members of ex-ruling United National Movement party from the list of witnesses as their testimonies were not relevant to the case.

The Court has not made a decision on the parties’ requests. The hearing was scheduled to continue from 4pm tomorrow.

Ex-PM Zhvania was one of the main contributors of the 2003 Rose Revolution and an ally of ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili.