New evidence uncovered in controversial death of Georgia’s late PM Zurab Zhvania

  • The late Zurab Zhvania played a crucial role in the 2003 Rose Revolution in Georgia. Photo by, 10 Dec 2015 - 15:41, Tbilisi,Georgia

The brother of Georgia’s late Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania claims new evidence has been identified that proves the country’s former top official died because of injures rather that carbon monoxide poisoning, as it was reported under the previous government.

Gogla Zhvania, Z. Zhvania’s brother, told Georgian newspaper Kviris Palitra that all questions regarding the late Prime Minister’s controversial death would be answered "very soon” thanks to new evidence.

Z. Zhvania and Deputy Kvemo Kartli Governor Raul Usupov were found dead in a rented apartment in central Tbilisi in February 2005.

New evidence has been uncovered in the reinvestigation, launched under the current state leadership, but I cannot speak about the details as it would jeopardize the outcome of the investigation,” G. Zhvania said, reiterating he always doubted the former government’s version that Z. Zhvania had died of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

He did concede that an FBI experiment in the new investigation stated the heater in the apartment where Z. Zhvania and Usupov were found was in working order. "Therefore there was no chance of carbon monoxide poisoning,” G. Zhvania said.

A tape has also been found that shows injures on my brother’s head. The tape was accidently saved from being destroyed. Of course the tape and many other pieces of evidence were not included in the case following the initial investigation conducted by the former state leadership,” G. Zhvania added. 

If alive Z. Zhvania would have celebrated his 52nd birthday yesterday. Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Z. Zhvania’s relatives visited his grace at Didube Pantheon cemetery to honour the late PM.

Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelahsvili honoured the late Prime Minister at Didube Pantheon cemetery yesterday. The photo shows Margvelashvili greets with the late PM's wife.  Photo by the President’s webpage. 

The official cause of death of Z. Zhvania and Usupov has not been determined but officials and experts who examined the bodies under the United National Movement’s (UNM) government, claimed the men died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning from an inadequately ventilated gas heater.

However Z. Zhvania’s family and friends disputed this version and claimed the former PM – one of the major figures of the 2003 Rose Revolution – was killed. They also disputed the autopsy result, which expert Levan Chachua performed on the bodies shortly after they were found.

A new investigation into the men’s death was launched in late 2012 after the Georgian Dream coalition came into power.

Three separate investigations were launched in connection with Zhvania and Usupov’s unexpected death. The first was to determine the exact cause of the men’s death (this is an ongoing investigation); the second was to determine why autopsy expert Chachua did not make note of all body injuries in his autopsy report; and the final investigation related to negligence charges against Zhvania’s security guards Koba Kharshiladze and Mikheil Dzadzamia.