Statement of the Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI) on the recent information disseminated by IvaneMerabishvili

GDI expresses its grave concern on the inadequate response of the Georgian authorities on the information revealed in the statement made in the courtroom by IvaneMerabishvili on 17 December and calls upon the authorities to immediately launch the criminal investigation on those facts.  In addition the authorities should conduct prompt investigation with maximum transparency to respond to all questions of high public interest. Timely withdrawal of all CCTV recordings from relevant institutions is of utmost importance and we do home that the recordings will not be destroyed and later will become accessible to the public as well.  

On 17 December, former Prime Minister IvaneMerabishvili who remains imprisoned, during the trial in the Kutaisi City Court made a statement and accused the Chief Prosecutor OtarPartskhaladze and the Head of the Penitentiary Service of subjecting him to pressure. According to the accounts of Merabishvili, on Friday at 2 AM he was taken out of the Prison premises, put into a car and his head was covered with his own coat. He assumes that he was driven to the main building of the Penitentiary Department.

Merabishvili Stated that two persons were awaiting him the in the office. One of them was the Chief Prosecutor Partskhaladze. He requested me to assist the Prosecutor’s office in the investigation of ZurabZhvania case and disclose the bank accounts of MikheilSaakashvili. In case of refusal he threatened me to worsen my conditions. I expressed my opinion clearly that accusingSaakashvili of corruption was rather funny. In addition I told that that they themselves have been acquainted with the materials of investigation of ZurabZhvania case and they should have understood that the investigation conducted by the previous authorities was perfect.

He told me that in case of fulfilling those 2 requests he would provide me the possibility to leave the country, also give me the possibility to take with me all the stolen money. In case of non-compliance with his requests my conditions in the prison would be worsened and my friends from party and the ones outside the party would also end up in the prison.

The facts presented in this statement are alarming, and they represent serious accusations. We do consider that the Government has to respond on such information seriously and ensure prompt and effective investigation. This is even more necessary when the alleged fact of pressure in related to the former PM where the society his raised number of legitimate questions regarding his pre-trial detention and criminal case. 

The statements made by the high level Political Officials are a matter of serious concern as well. The statements made represent sort of preliminary attitude and undermine the credibility and impartiality of the investigation. The Chief Prosecutor’s Office when stating that they are not going to investigate this case made the most alarming statement.

The statement made by the MP TinatinKhidasheli is an issue of concern as well. She stated few times that in case Merabishvili’s statements are proven false he should be charged for making false accusations. This position is a matter grave concern as it contradicts the legal order in Georgia.