Late PM Zhvania’s family distrusts 2005 autopsy result

Zurab Zhvania was found dead in the early morning of February 3, 2005. Photo by AFP, 19 Nov 2014 - 18:39, Tbilisi,Georgia

The family of late Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania argues forensic medical expert Levan Chachua, who performed an autopsy on Zhvania’s body in 2005, did not fully mention "obvious physical injuries” in his autopsy report.

Chachua was arrested eight months ago and charged with negligence but was released on bail yesterday after paying 10,000 GEL.

The late PM’s brother Gogla Zhvania said it was an issue of minor importance for him whether Chachua would stay in jail or if he was released, as long as Chachua’s case had been separated from the main case relating to his brother’s death.

"What is important for me is for Zura’s case to be timely investigated,” G. Zhvania said.

Meanwhile, he added Chachua wrote the autopsy report without examination the body.

The late PM’s wife Nino Kadagidze said she also had doubts surrounding Chachua’s initial autopsy report. She said he did not fully describe the injuries evident on the body in his autopsy report.

"There are a lot of questions surrounding Zura’s case. When there are so many questions, we need a more precise examination to be held,” she said.

Meanwhile, Prosecutor Rezo Nadoi said the Chief Prosecutor’s Office was preparing to exhume the late PM’s body in order to clear up questions related to the case. He added the exact date of Zhvania’s exhumation was not decided yet.

Zhvania was found dead in a rented apartment in the early morning of February 3, 2005. The body of then-Kvemo Kartli region Governor Raul Usupov was also found at the scene.

The official cause of the men’s death has not been determined but officials and experts, who examined the bodies, claimed the men died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning from an inadequately ventilated gas heater.

In March this year, a one-minute photo collage of 12 images showing the corpses of Zhvania and Usupov was leaked on YouTube. The video titled "Saakashvili killed Mr. Zurab Zhvania” was uploaded by a user named Hakim Pasha. The user could not be identified but authorities said the video was uploaded from Turkey.

The montage contained still photos of the bodies that identified a number of possible injuries that could be relevant to the men’s deaths. These injuries were not mentioned in Chachua’s autopsy report. This resulted in Chachua’s arrest in March.

The investigation to determine the exact cause of the men’s death, as well as investigation in Chacua’s case is ongoing. There is another separate investigation ongoing surrounding the ex-PM’s death, in which Zhvania’s security guards are facing negligence charges.

Zhvania was one of the main contributors to the 2003 Rose Revolution and an ally of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili.