Prosecutor’s office said on August 5 that it is filing new criminal charges against former president Mikheil Saakashvili.
New charges are stemming from 2005 attack on then opposition MP Valeri Gelashvili, who was severely beaten up by masked, armed men in Tbilisi.
Prosecution accuses Saakashvili, who was at the time the president, of “organizing” this attack.
Vano Merabishvili, who was interior minister in 2005, will face charges in the same case, prosecutor’s office said.
Prosecutor’s office said that the attack on Gelashvili, a businessman and a member of the Republican Party, was retaliation for his June, 2005 newspaper interview in which he accused then President Saakashvili of seizing his property and in which Gelashvili voiced personal insults against Saakashvili and his family.
After this newspaper interview was published, prosecutor’s office said, Saakashvili, “motivated by personal revenge”, instructed then defense minister Irakli Okruashvili to beat Gelashvili. But after Okruashvili refused, prosecutor’s office claims, Saakashvili ordered the same task to then interior minister Vano Merabishvili.
Okruashvili, who was once Saakashvili’s close ally, first leveled similar allegations against Saakashvili over attack on Gelashvili in September 2007, when ex-defense minister was launching his opposition party.
Prosecutor’s office said that after receiving instructions from Saakashvili, ex-interior minister Merabishvili, who is now behind bars after being convicted in connection with other several unrelated cases, ordered then chief of Special Operative Department, Erekle Kodua, to execute attack and beating up of Gelashvili.
Kodua and one of his former subordinates were charged in connection with attack of Gelashvili in April, 2014. Kodua, who is abroad and is wanted by Georgia, denies charges and says that he has nothing to do with this attack on Gelashvili.
Gelashvili was hospitalized with multiple serious injuries after he was attacked by masked armed men in Tbilisi center on July 14, 2005. Gelashvili, a member of the Republican Party, was stripped of his MP credentials in April 2006 by the Parliament at the time dominated by UNM party. Gelashvili is currently a lawmaker from GD parliamentary majority group.
“The case of beating up of Valeri Gelashvili is now fully solved,” prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
“Investigation against Mikheil Saakashvili and Ivane [Vano] Merabishvili continues under third part of article 333 of the criminal code [exceeding official authorities with use of violence], carrying imprisonment from 3 to 8 years as punishment,” prosecutor’s office said.
New criminal charges against Saakashvili came a week after the ex-president was charged with exceeding official authorities in connection with the break up of anti-government protests on November 7, 2007 and “seizure” of Imedi TV and other properties of late tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili. Court ordered pre-trial detention for Saakashvili in absentia in connection with these charges stemming to November, 2007 events and their aftermath.
Additional charges did not come as a surprise as while commenting on Saakashvili’s prosecution on August 4, PM Irakli Garibashvili said that there’s more to come “so let’s wait for investigation”.