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Tuesday, 24 April 2018


Why Tsotne Gamsakhurdia was arrested

09.11.2009  |  17:40

4501.jpegNovember rallies in Georgia went by almost without emergencies with the police dispersing only one demonstration of the supporters of Manana Archvadze-Gamsakhurdia, the widow of Georgia's ex president demanding liberation of Tsotne, her son who had recently been arrested and declared a hunger strike in protest. Gamsakhurdia's supporters consider him a political prisoner. GeorgiaTimes correspondent tried to figure out intricacies of the Georgian justice.


Supporters of the widow of Georgian ex president Zviad Gamsakhurdia held a protest rally near the ombudsman's office on the day when other opposition parties were rallying in tribute to the second anniversary of the November 7 events when the riot police violently dispersed the demonstrators and the opposition leaders were sued for "espionage".

The second anniversary of the opposition's standoff didn't cause much commotion. The rally began from the Public Broadcaster. Part of the road before the building was blocked, then demonstrators moved further on to the Parliament in order to proclaim a 3-clause resolution with their demands. One of the demands deals with liberation of political prisoners. According to the participants of the rally there were 6-8 thousand demonstrators near the Parliament.

That same day the worshipers of the country's first president gathered near the ombudsman's office on a different pretext. They called for liberation of the first president's son - Tsotne Gamsakhurdia.

It will be remembered Tsotne was arrested late in October on suspicion of shooting at his neighbor, David Bajelidze. The victim is safe and sound, thank God. And Tsotne is in jail. He pleads not guilty and declares a hunger strike in protest. 

Rights defenders believe Tsotne is a political prisoner. An ad-hoc liberation commission was created. As Georgy Kervalishvili, President of All-Georgian Human Rights Protection Association stated lawyers, clergy and representatives of the first president's government work in the commission. 

"Our association recognizes Gamsakhurdia as a political prisoner. The commission's purpose is to provide people with the objective information on the arrest of Tsotne Gamsakhurdia, the first president's son", - Kervalishvili remarked, Our Abkhazia reports.

According to him the commission will make all efforts to keep Tsotne Gamsakhurdia from becoming a hostage to Saakashvili regime. Besides the association is preparing a document to international rights defending organizations.

It seems though that Zviad Gamsakhurdia's fans were not patient enough to wait for the help of international rights defenders and went on a rally near the ombudsman's office. For the sake of justice it should be mentioned that the supporters of Mananna Archvadze-Gamsakhurdia, the widow of the ex president, protest quite often. Over a year they have been protesting in front of the Soros Foundation building. Though people from surrounding districts were not totally happy about constant chanting of slogans, nobody dispersed them.

What's the reason for the current extraordinary situation? The authorities even tolerated massive protest actions in spring... As Interfax reports the police interfered after ex journalists of Imedi TV company left the building and the supporters of the widow tried to punish them. No demonstrator was injured though.

Although lately the opposition parties have used any pretext to rally they are not really active about Tsotne Gamsakhurdia's arrest. It's worthwhile to remind that the latter, like his elder brother Konstantin was accused of associations with the Russian special services in 2007. It was the year when the opposition protest was violently broken up by the riot police. 

At that time after the rise of protest actions Tsotne Gamsakhurdia's telephone talks with opposition leaders and Ivan Volynkin, a Russian diplomat, ex RF Envoy and Counsellor to Tbilisi were promulgated. These conversations allegedly prove that Gamsakhurdia wanted to overthrow Mikheil Saakashvili's regime. After this scandal three Russian diplomats were deported from Georgia.

As for Tsotne, if he is acknowledged guilty now, under Georgian laws he will be sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment. The detainee's mother, Manana Archvadze-Gamsakhurdia thinks the authorities were persecuting Tsotne for political reasons.

"The point is before that Tsotne was accused of a conspiracy aimed at the coup. This is an invented charge, - Caucasian Knot quotes her. - More than once the power structures assured me he would not be charged as a political prisoner, but on a criminal offense. So they framed up a fight and detained him".

GeorgiaTimes correspondent got in touch with leader of Ex Political Prisoners for Human Rights NGO Nana Kakabadze. She noted the relatives of the detainee hadn't applied to the organization for help. That's why she can't definitely say whether Tsotne Gamsakhurdia is a political prisoner or not.

Keti Bekauri, Tsotne Gamsakhurdia's lawyer in her conversation with GeorgiaTimes correspondent remarked that she could not call Tsotne Gamsakhurdia a political prisoner either. "For now I will refrain from answering the question whether Tsotne is a political prisoner or not", - she said. The lawyer is convinced that accusations against her client are fabricated.


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