Main witness in high-profile murder case of minors detained

The Georgian Interior Ministry says that a main witness of the murder case of two minors in 2017 was detained earlier today. Photo:, 04 Jun 2019 - 12:44, Tbilisi,Georgia

A main witness in the high-profile murder case of two minors in Tbilisi in 2017, Mikheil Kalandia, has been detained earlier today on charges of the murder of one of the minors, David Saralidze.

The detention came after the verdict of Tbilisi Court of Appeals yesterday, which sent another minor, G.J., to 11 years and three months in prison for the premeditated murder of Saralidze.

However, the court said that G.J. was not alone and “other individuals” helped him to inflict multiple injuries to Saralidze in December 2017, during a school brawl on Khorava Street in central Tbilisi.

David Saralidze and Levan Dadunashvili, the minors killed in a school brawl in 2017. Photo: reginfo.

The Tbilisi City Court last year failed to say who killed Saralidze and sentenced G.J. to nine years in prison “for attempted murder,” while another detainee, G.B, also a minor, was sentenced for the murder of Levan Dadunashvili, a boy killed with Saralidze.

The City Court verdict in 2018 led to rallies and the resignation of Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze, with father of David Saralidze, Zaza Saralidze, stating that the Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s office “was hiding the killers of his son.”

He frequently named former official of the Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office Mirza Subeliani, “who did his best to conceal the details of the incident, as his relative, Mikheil Kalandia, was involved in the case.”

Kalandia changed his testimony several times during the investigation.

In 2018 the case was handed to the Interior Ministry [from the Prosecutor’s Office] for investigation.

Zaza Saralidze stated yesterday that he had a feeling that justice would be restored. 

After the verdict of Tbilisi City Court, the Georgian Interior Ministry managed to obtain the evidence confirming Kalandia’s participation in the murder of Saralidze, committed by a group,” the Ministry of Internal Affairs stated today.

Zara Saralidze said yesterday, when G.J. was sentenced for murder of his son, that the “justice was partially restored,” and he was waiting for the detention of all those involved in the incident.

I will fight to the end for this,” Saralidze said.

He stated today that "justice is actually restored." 

Kalandia's family speaks about the "political influence" on the "illegal detention."

They say that the detainee is innocent and there is no genuine evidence proving his guilt. 

Georgian Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia says that the case involving minors is “specific and hard to investigate.”

Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani called the case “as one of the most complicated in the history of independent Georgia,” as witnesses, who were minors mostly, changed their testimonies several times, “concealing one another.”

However, she said that state agencies were working to solve the case.

10 individuals have been charged with different offences in the case: participation, giving false testimony and  not reporting a crime among them.