On September 7, Tbilisi City Court found Mariana Choloiani, the police investigator who oversaw questioning of a teenager Luka Siradze, guilty of extorting the confession from a witness under Article 335 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, and sentenced her to 3 years in prison. Choloiani will also be banned from working in law enforcement bodies for the additional 2 years.
Siradze, 15, jumped to his death in December 2019, following the police inquest in concerning breaking-and-entering and putting up an offensive graffiti at one of Tbilisi’s private schools.
The Ministry of Interior initially dismissed the allegations that the attempted suicide was linked to police interrogation on the night of December 10-11, at Didube-Chugureti police station. The case was taken over by the State Inspector’s Office, the body mandated with investigating crimes committed by the police and public officials. This investigation led to the detention of Choloiani on suspicions of forcing a confession.
The case has attracted national condemnation and international attention. In the newly released ‘Nations in Transit’ report on Georgia, the U.S. based rights watchdog Freedom House cites Luka Siradze’s death as one example of mistreatment by the police in Georgia.
Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), a local non-governmental organization that provides legal representation to the family of the victim, said that the State Inspector’s Office is still investigating alleged crimes committed by other police officers. Investigations are also underway on “incitement to suicide” charges under Article 115 of the Criminal Code.