About Civil.ge
Eng | Geo | Rus
Last updated: 16:05 - 23 Jun.'17
RSS
Mobile
Twitter
Facebook
Akhalaia Refuses Trial by Jury
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 5 Mar.'13 / 19:18

Former defense and interior minister, Bacho Akhalaia, charged with torture, exceeding power and illegal imprisonment, has declined to be tried by jurors.

Rest of the co-defendants into the same case, among them former army chief of staff Giorgi Kalandadze, has also chosen trial by a judge.

A motion requesting for jury trial was filed by the prosecution, but it was declined by the judge after defendants spoke against it.

In January the Parliament amended the criminal procedures code to allow applying jury trials to high-profile cases in which former officials face criminal charges.

Defense lawyers have cited high probability of jurors’ preconceived bias against the defendants as the reasons behind their clients’ decision to choose trial by a judge.

Malkhaz Velijanashvili, a defense lawyer for Bacho Akhalaia, said that the authorities and the prosecution had contributed stirring negative public perception of his client.

“Public attitude has been created as if Bacho Akhalaia is guilty of not only of charges he is facing, but of other crimes as well; he has been portrayed as a very bad person, so every potential juror would have been biased with preconceived notions, so their verdict would not have been objective,” said Akhalaia’s lawyer.

In early November when Akhalaia was arrested and sent to pre-trial detention, he was initially charged with “exceeding official powers” involving an allegation of abuse of soldiers in October, 2011 when he was the defense minister.

He was then charged with “illegal deprivation of freedom” involving an allegation of beating a man and then holding him in illegal confinement for several hours in September, 2011.

Under the torture charges, which were added against Akhalaia in mid-November, he is accused of inhuman treatment of more than dozen of army personnel in February, 2010 when he served as defense minister.

Akhalaia denies charges as politically motivated.

At a preliminary court hearing in the Tbilisi City Court on March 5, the judge declined a motion filed by the defense lawyers during a previous session on March 2, requesting to declare charges against all eight co-dependents (two of which are at large) inadmissible for further trial on the grounds of lack of evidence.

Instead the judge accepted prosecution’s motion requesting launch of the trial on the merits of the criminal case, which has been set for March 18.

Apart of the charges which are being heard at the ongoing trial, the prosecutor’s office has filed additional charges against Akhalaia on March 1 and March 2.

On March 1 prosecutors filed power abuse charges against Akhalaia, claiming that he beat up several inmates when Akhalaia served as prison system chief in March, 2006, which led to a riot in the Tbilisi prison No.5 that claimed the life of seven inmates.

On March 2 prosecutor’s office filed charges against Akhalaia related to torture, inhuman treatment and abuse of power into the case of alleged mistreatment of seven special task force servicemen in August, 2012 when Akhalaia served as interior minister. Prosecutors claim that seven servicemen were subjected to inhuman treatment as “a punishment” for sympathizing Georgian Dream coalition, which at the time was in opposition.

Latest News
23 Jun.'17 16:05
40th round of Geneva International Discussions
Russia and Georgia spar over security.
23 Jun.'17 15:41
MPs Pass Constitutional Changes with First Reading
Amid the opposition’s boycott, amendments were unanimously adopted by the parliamentary majority.
23 Jun.'17 01:04
Moscow Cuts ‘Investment’ Funding for Tskhinvali
90% of South Ossetia’s budget for 2017 was subsidized by the Russian Federation.
22 Jun.'17 17:20
Crime Wave Stirs Public Outcry in Abkhazia
Public demands action to stop “lawlessness” in the region, authorities promise to investigate the cases.
21 Jun.'17 16:59
Senior MEP: Mukhtarli Case ‘Very Alerting’
Rebecca Harms called for “an independent investigation” both in Azerbaijan and Georgia.
21 Jun.'17 16:16
Parliamentary Opposition Renews Calls for Plebiscite over Constitution Reform
Movement for Liberty - European Georgia submitted 150,000 signatures to the Government administration.
21 Jun.'17 14:21
Venice Commission on Georgia’s New Constitution
The Council of Europe’s (CoE) advisory body for legal affairs released its opinion on June 19.
21 Jun.'17 11:48
FM Janelidze Joins EaP Ministerial in Luxemburg
Federica Mogherini chaired the EU and EaP foreign ministers’ gathering to discuss further cooperation.
20 Jun.'17 19:05
PACE Media Freedom Rapporteur on Mukhtarli Case
Volodymyr Ariev calls for immediate release of Azerbaijani journalist.
20 Jun.'17 18:23
Prime Minister Kvirikashvili on Mukhtarli Case
Giorgi Kvirikashvili calls for avoiding “premature conclusions” over the Azerbaijani journalist’s case.

About Civil Georgia
Civil.Ge © 2001-2017, Daily News Online
Registered office: 2 Dolidze Str, 4-th Floor.
84