The Tbilisi City Court found on December 18 five former Interior Ministry officials guilty of exceeding official powers into the high-profile murder case of Amiran Robakidze in 2004.
According to the court ruling, Guram Donadze, former Interior Ministry spokesman, as well as three other former Interior Ministry officials – Davit Iashvili, Irakli Pirtskhalava and Zurab Mikadze – were sentenced to five years and three months in jail and were banned from holding public office for two years and three months.
One more Interior Ministry official, Zaza Bakradze, who pleaded guilty and reached a plea bargain with the investigation, was sentenced to 4.5 years of conditional sentence and a GEL 5,000 fine. He was also banned from holding public office for two years.
The Court said that the five former officials exceeded official powers, when they fabricated evidence and planted firearms in the car of Buta Robakidze and his friends.
19-year-old Amiran (Buta) Robakidze was shot by a patrol police officer on November 23, 2004; the authorities initially claimed that Robakidze and his companions were “gang of armed men,” and that the policemen acted in self-defense.
The TV program Patrol Police, which was produced by the Interior Ministry’s press service, reported the next day that the police seized Kalashnikov assault rifles from the car in which Robakidze and his friends were driving.
Claims that officers acted in self-defense were discarded by the police later; Grigol Bashaleishvili, a patrol police officer, admitted that he accidentally shot Robakidze, who was unarmed.
Although Bashaleishvili was convicted in 2006 and sentenced to four years in prison, Robakidze’s family insisted on punishing those involved in the crime scene fabrication.
In particular, the relatives were pointing the finger at Guram Donadze, who was in charge of producing the Patrol Police program, as well as the then chief of Patrol Police, Zurab Mikadze.
The Prosecutor’s Office reopened the investigation in 2013, a year after Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream party came to power.