Six persons, including one minor, were convicted by the Mtskheta District Court on November 13 as part of the trials in connection with the Shakarashvili Case – a chain of violent confrontations during and after a teenage birthday party in June that was followed by the death of Giorgi Shakarshvili, a 19-year-old football player.
Fully sharing the evidence presented by the prosecution, the court found three out of six defendants guilty of organization and participation in group violence (Article 225-1,2 of the Georgian Criminal Code); one more was convicted of participation in group violence (Article 225-2), and two other suspects were found guilty of unlawful confinement and participation in group violence (Articles 225-2 and 143-3). Another trial has been scheduled for November 20 for the court to decide the respective sentences of the convicts.
The charges refer to the episodes of the crime when a small group of young men involved in the initial violent confrontation in Mtskheta allegedly mobilized several others from the capital city of Tbilisi to seek revenge, who eventually physically and verbally assaulted a group of victims in two separate attacks, illegally abducting one of them while he was trying to hide from the assailants.
This is the first court judgment as more suspects are to be tried after the police have arrested a total of 17 persons in connection with the case. Five persons were charged with premeditated murder in August.
According to the prosecutor’s version of events, Shakarashvili – who was allegedly caught alone by 5 assailants under the bridge while attempting to flee the violence – was severely beaten and thrown into the Aragvi River, leading to his death.
Charges against 12 other suspects included organization and participation in group violence, unlawful confinement, and group violence.
Shakarashvili’s body was found dead on June 22 in the basin of the Aragvi River, 4 days after he went missing when the birthday party in Mtskheta, some 20 km from Tbilisi, grew into verbal and physical confrontations between the two groups of people.