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President under Fire over Pardoning Inmate Charged for Police Murder

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Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili has been harshly criticized by the ruling party and opposition for pardoning a person charged for murdering a police officer.

On August 28, Salome Zurabishvili pardoned 34 inmates, including Ramaz Devadze charged for murdering a police officer Tarash Mukbaniani at one of the night clubs in Batumi back in 2014. Devadze who was reportedly drunk when he shot Mukbaniani dead, was sentenced a 12-year detention in 2015.

Ruling party assessment

Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze said on September 3 that he is “against pardoning those people, who have raised their hands” on police officers, or are charged for murder or violence against law enforcers.

Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani also said on September 4 that it would be better if “the murderers of police officers” are not pardoned. She also added that this issue has not been consulted with the penitentiary service of the Justice Ministry.

Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze also spoke of the President’s “heavy” decision yesterday. However, he said it is the responsibility of Zurabishvili and the commission working on pardoning, to explain.

President Zurabishvili, however, does not intend to give any explanation. As she told journalists during her Paris visit on August 29, pardoning is the president’s discretion and she does not intend to provide further clarification.

Opposition assessment

President’s decision has been immediately criticized by the opposition.

European Georgia’s Irma Nadirashvili said with this decision the President has proved “that she is an irresponsible person,” and that “such issues undermine the country’s foundation.”

United National Movement’s Roman Gotsiridze considers that this decision is possibly connected to corrupt scheme.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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