Main witness in high-profile murder case of adolescents charged

Mikheil Kalandia changed his testimony several times during the investigation. Photo: IPN, 05 Jun 2019 - 23:24, Tbilisi,Georgia

The main witness in the high-profile murder case in Tbilisi in December 2017, Mikheil Kalandia, has been officially charged with the murder of one of the minors, David Saralidze.

Kalandia has been charged with intentional murder of a miner committed by a group of persons in aggravating circumstances, the Prosecutor’s Office said.

Mikheil Kalandia was detained on June 4. The Tbilisi City Court is set to discuss over the preventive measures against Kalandia tomorrow at 12 p.m.

Prosecutor’s Office is demanding Kalandia’s detention. However, Kalandia’s lawyer, Ana Kotetishvili said today that the defendant denies the charges.

Mikheil’s brother, Luka Kalandia also claimed today that Saralidze’s murderer is already behind the bars, but no one can prove his guilt.

Luka Kalandia again spoke of “political motifs” behind his brother’s detention and urged that Mikheil is being used to “calm down the population before elections”.

He said his brother should not spend even a single day behind the bars as he has done no harm to Saralidze.

We will prove his innocence”, Luka Kalandia said.

Last year the Tbilisi City Court 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, another boy killed with Saralidze.

Now the Court of Appeals says that Saralidze was killed by G.J. and that he committed the offence with “other individuals” who helped him to inflict multiple injuries to Saralidze, during a school brawl on Khorava Street in central Tbilisi.

The court has sent G.J. to 11 years and three months in prison for premeditated murder, similar as G.B, as both were minors when the incident took place.

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

Kalandia changed his testimony several times during the investigation. Now his father claims that law enforcers physically abused him and his sons to obtain the “desired evidence” from them in December 2017, immediately after the school brawl.

Kalandia’s father now believes that as elections are approaching his son is being used [by authorities] to demonstrate “as if the justice has been restored”.

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