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Senior Police Officer, One More Person Arrested over Death of Georgian Citizen

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The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia detained two persons as part of criminal investigation into the death of 24-year-old Georgian citizen Murad Tsurtsumia in early January.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, a brawl between deceased Tsurtsumia and two assailants, Zurab Popkhadze and Vakhtang Burdzenidze started near a cemetery in Tbilisi’s Varketili Third Array neighbourhood after Tsurtsumia and his brother, Mukhran Chkhvirkia allegedly tried to seize Popkhadze’s car on January 2. It also said that Zurab Popkhadze and Vakhtang Burdzenidze inflicted life-threatening injuries to Tsurtsumia resulting in the latter’s death in hospital on January 4.

On January 5, Zurab Popkhadze, senior police official, was arrested in connection with Tsurtsumia’s case. On January 7, Tbilisi City Court sentenced him to two-month pretrial custody.

On January 9, the Prosecutor’s Office announced that it arrested one more person, Vakhtang Burdzenidze on Wednesday. The Prosecutor’s Office noted that Burdzenidze has been charged with inflicting severe injuries causing death and group violence that is punished by imprisonment from eight to eleven years. Tbilisi City Court sentenced Burdzenidze to two-month pretrial custody as well.

News about the incident emerged after pro-opposition TV channel, Mtavari Arkhi aired a story about Tsurtsumia’s death on January 6. According to the victim’s family, Tsurtsumia had been beaten severely and left alone in the cold. They said relatives found Tsurtsumia only on the second day after incident and failed to save him. The family of the victim also claimed that Tsurtsumia had his eye gouged out.

The Prosecutor’s Office, however, denied the allegation that Tsurtsumia lost his eye, saying that medical documents did not confirm it. The family also claimed that Tsurtsumia was not beaten only by one police officer, demanding the arrest of other perpetrators as well.

On January 6, the Prosecutor’s Office recognized Tsurtsumia’s mother and Mukhran Chkhvirkia as victims.

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

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