Body of Georgia’s late Prime Minister will be exhumed

Zurab Zhvania was one of the main contributors to the 2003 Rose Revolution., 20 Mar 2014 - 14:45, Tbilisi,Georgia

The bodies of two former Georgian officials who died in unknown circumstances nine years ago will be exhumed as the Prosecutor’s Office believes the previous examinations were "incomplete”.

In addition, the country’s former Chief Prosecutor has been summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office to be questioned about the case.

In a public statement made earlier today, Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office said there were still many unanswered questions surrounding the deaths of late Prime Minister Zurab Zvania and Deputy Governor of Kvemo Kartli region Raul Usupov.

The Office said it was necessary to exhume the bodies to uncover the truth.

The previous examinations ignored "obvious” injuries on the bodies, the Office said.

About midnight last night, a one-minute photo collage of 12 images showing the corpses of Zvania and Usupov leaked on Youtube.

The video 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, the Prosecutor’s Office said the only reason the footage was made public was to hamper the ongoing investigation of the case.

The Office also claimed the photos that leaked on the internet were discovered in 2012 in the safe of former Chief Prosecutor Murtaz Zodelava and the files were not attached to the case.

Prosecutors summoned Zodelava to the Prosecutor’s Office this afternoon for questioning.

Meanwhile, the ex-ruling United National Movement party members demanded the Prosecutor’s Office to make the materials relating to Zhvania’s case public as there was high interest around the case. However, the Office refused this saying it would inhibit the ongoing investigation.

Office representatives said talks to involve "authoritative” international experts in the case were in its final phase and an exhumation would soon be held.

Zhvania and Usupov were found dead in a rented apartment in the early morning of February 3, 2005. Zhvania was one of the main contributors to the 2003 Rose Revolution and ally of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili.

The official cause of the men’s death has not been determined but officials claimed the men died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning from a poorly ventilated gas heater.