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Five Men Charged with Aggravated Murder of 19-year-old Footballer  

The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia announced on August 11 that it has brought new charges against five out of seventeen persons detained in connection with the death of Giorgi Shakarashvili – a 19-year-old football player of FC Saburtalo – near Mtskheta, some 20 kilometers north to the capital city of Tbilisi in June. The five men have been charged with premeditated murder committed under aggravating circumstances.

The Prosecutor’s Office released a video showing the episode of Shakarashvili’s murder.

The Prosecutor’s Office stated that late on June 18, a verbal and then physical confrontation erupted among the guests of a birthday party that was attended by Shakarashvili. Vakhtang Chikovani, one of the party guests beaten during the brawl, traveled to Tbilisi, mobilized his friends, and returned to Mtskheta with them in two cars – Toyota and Mercedes – to take revenge.

The investigative body noted that most guests, including Shakarashvili – who reportedly had not involved in the scuffle himself – left the party following a brawl and headed on foot to Tbilisi.

Noteworthy, that two of Chikovani’s friends who also attended the party, started secretly following Shakarashvili’s group, and give out information about their whereabouts to the revenge-seekers.

This was when the passengers of Mercedes car attacked Shakarashvili’s group on the highway. The Mercedes passengers beat Shakarashvili’s friends and left the scene, with Shakarashvili himself had managed to escape.

Following the Mercedes incident, Shakarashvili and his friends continued their way to Tbilisi, when revenge-seeking passengers of Toyota Camry overtook them and insulted them.

“To avoid possible violence, Giorgi Shakarashvili and the persons accompanying him ran in the direction of Aragvi Bridge, passed it, then crossed the road and ran westwards [across the highway]” the Prosecutor’s Office went on, adding that Toyota Camry passengers – including Chikovani – kept chasing them. As some of the runaways managed to go into hiding, Shakarashvili continued running but was finally besieged and captured by assailants under the Aragvi River bridge.

He was then severely beaten and thrown into the Aragvi River that led to the death of the 19-year-old footballer.

The Prosecutor’s Office said based on the interim report of forensic examination that blunt objects caused Shakarashvili’s injuries.

Police arrested a total of 17 persons in connection with the Shakarashvili case. The said five persons charged with premeditated murder will face imprisonment from 13 to 17 years once their guilt is proved.

Charges against 12 other suspects include organization and participation in group violence, unlawful confinement, and group violence that is punished by imprisonment for a term of 4 to 10 years.

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

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