Ex-Chief Prosecutor, forensic expert face evidence fabrication charges in late PM Zhvania’s case

Building of the Georgian Chief Prosecutors Office in Tbilisi; Photo by N. Alavidze / Agenda.ge
Agenda.ge, 04 Feb 2015 - 19:27, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia has brought charges against ex-Chief Prosecutor and a top former official of the country’s National Forensics Bureau in connection with the 2005 death of former Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania.

The charges against the two ex-officials were announced by the Prosecutor’s Office today.

Former Chief Prosecutor Mamuka Gvaramia and deputy head of the National Forensics Bureau Rostom Lazaria, who served as Gvaramia’s adviser in the case surrounding Zhvania’s death, were jointly charged with abuse of power and fabricating evidence. The Office alleged the men intentionally fabricated the testimony of one witness – the late PM’s guard – and also filed fake evidence in the case.

An investigation to determine the allegations against Gvaramia and Lazaria has been launched. If found guilty, the men will face a prison sentence of three to seven years.

Former PM 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.

However Zhvania’s family and friends challenged this version and said they did not trust the autopsy result, which was performed on the PM and Governor’s bodies shortly after the corpses were found.

Currently there are three separate ongoing investigations regarding Zhvania and Usupov’s death. One is to determine the exact cause of the men’s death; the second is to investigation why the expert who performed the autopsy presented an incomplete autopsy report; and the third is to find out why Zhvania’s security guards showed negligence when they left the late PM alone on the fatal night.