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Prosecutors Close Case against ECHR Judge’s Brother

On May 20, the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia closed the criminal case against the brother of Nona Tsotsoria, judge of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) from Georgia, saying the handgun, seized in the house of Otar Tsotsoria two days earlier, “is hand-made, but not suitable for firing.”

The prosecutors launched investigation under Article 236 on illegal purchase and possession of firearms (punishable with imprisonment for up to four years) and seized two hunting rifles, a revolver and bullets following a four-hour long search in the flat of Otar Tsotsoria on May 18. Nona Tsotsoria, who sits at court chambers on all Georgia-related cases, posted a brief note on Facebook a day later, saying the police investigation was related to her work at the European Court of Human Rights.

The Prosecutor’s Office announced on May 20 that the forensic examination of the revolver and 227 cartridges, seized in the flat of Otar Tsotsoria, revealed that the revolver “is hand-made, but not suitable for firing” and does not belong to the firearms category, while the cartridges “belong to the ammunition category and are suitable for firing.”

The Prosecutor’s Office then said that Otar Tsotsoria and his family members, including his wife, sister-in-law and mother-in-law were interrogated and that the investigation determined on the basis of their testimonies that the seized items belonged to the father-in-law of Otar Tsotsoria, who passed away on May 11, 2017. 

The Office added that the investigation was closed based on the prosecutor’s resolution of May 20, 2017 “because of the death of the person who was to be charged by the prosecutors.”

Levan Maskharashvili, Otar Tsotsoria’s lawyer said on May 20 that the manner in which the investigation determined the ownership of the seized revolver “is unclear.” “Otar Tsotsoria and his wife do not know how the gun appeared in their flat or whom it belonged to … Otar Tsotsoria gave his testimony yesterday  in my presence, where he clarified that he did not know of its existence and confirmed that he first saw the gun during the police search [on May 18],” Maskharashvili stated.

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