Tbilisi City Court has found Data Akhalaia, former head of the Interior Ministry’s Department for Constitutional Security (DCS), guilty in connection with high-profile murder case of Sandro Girgvliani and sentenced him in absentia to seven years and six months in jail.
In a statement released on October 29, the prosecutor’s office said Akhalaia has been charged with exceeding official powers, degrading and inhuman treatment against Sandro Girgvliani, who was murdered in January 2006, after his reported altercation with high-ranking DCS employees.
The prosecution claims it was Akhalaia who ordered the DCS operatives to murder Girgvliani.
According to the prosecutor’s office, new charges against Akhalaia were brought after the agency reopened the investigation, following the European Court of Human Rights ruling of April 2011, which said the investigation “manifestly lacked the requisite independence, impartiality, objectivity and thoroughness.”
Data Akhalaia, who had also served as the Deputy Defense Minister, left Georgia following the 2012 parliamentary elections. He was arrested in Greece in spring 2014, but released later on bail. The court in Greece rejected Georgia’s demand for his extradition, followed by Interpol’s red notice withdrawal.
In December 2016, Tbilisi court convicted Data Akhalaia of premeditated group murder, exceeding official powers and falsification of evidence into the so called Navtlugi special operation in Tbilisi and sentenced him in absentia to 12 years in jail.