“More arrested-more reward, detain all!”
4 ex-officials charged for May 26, 2011 brutal dispersal of rally [VIDEO]

The photo depicts May 26 rally dispersal. Photo by Irakli Gedenidze.
Agenda.ge, 20 Sep 2016 - 15:35, Tbilisi,Georgia

Four ex-officials of the previous government have been officially charged for exceeding official powers during a brutal dispersal of a peaceful rally in central Tbilisi in May 2011 that left two people dead and 250 injured.

Today the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia laid charges against four former officials of the United National Movement (UNM) government for their involvement in the violent dispersal of a peaceful political rally in central Tbilisi on May 26, 2011.

See an excerpt of the video released by the Chief Prosecutor's Office below: 

The charges come after today’s release of video footage of the rally and the brutality that followed. The video, recently obtained by the Chief Prosecutor’s Office, was filmed by a cameraman of the Constitutional Security Department (CSD) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in 2011.

The dispersal was planned and led by ex-Interior Minister of Georgia Ivane Merabishvili and aimed to be a mass attack and terrorize people with different political views,” the Prosecutor’s Office said. 

The video showed ex-head of CSD David Akhalaia telling his staff to "arrest all rally participants” and he promised money rewards for CSD staff who fulfilled his request. In the video Akhalaia said the more people arrested, the more financial reward they would receive. 

The video has been carefully examined by experts and deemed authentic. 

The footage showed ex-officials and CSD staff deliberately block the movements of peaceful protesters on Rustaveli Ave and Freedom Square. The rally participants were protesting the actions of UNM. The ex-officials and CSD staff used razor bullets and batons to beat the protesters; some of which were left seriously wounded.

The Prosecutor’s Office said during the rally: 

  • Two men died 
  • More than 250 were injured 
  • More than 800 were illegally detained

The four people charged today were: 

  • Ex-head of CSD David Akhalaia. He is currently on the run and wanted by Georgia’s law enforcers 
  • Ex-Deputy Head of CSD Vasil Leluashvili
  • Ex-Head of Tbilisi Main Department of CSD Revaz Shiukashvili
  • Ex- Head of Tbilisi Second Department of CSD Levan Kardava

If found guilty of exceeding official powers, the four ex-officials could spend five to eight years behind bars. 

The Prosecutor’s Office said after the rally dispersal, CSD staff received about $400,000 in total as a reward. Of this money: 

  • Levan Kardava received 13,780 GEL ($8,202 USD)
  • Vasil Leluashvili- 9,000 GEL ($5,357)
  • David Akhalaia- 6,500 GEL ($3,869)
  • Revaz Shiukashvili- 4,135 GEL ($2,461)

(Currencies are equivalent with May 27, 2011 National Bank of Georgia exchange rates.)

Merabsihvili has already been sentenced to four years and six months in jail after he was found guilty of exceeding official powers in this case. He is serving his prison sentence in Georgia.