The Tbilisi Court of Appeals has reduced from nine to seven years the prison sentence of Levan Zurabashvili, a young man who took 19 hostages in the office of a microfinance company in Tbilisi’s Didube district on November 20, 2020.
Zurabashvili’s lawyer, Aleksandre Kobaidze told several Georgian media outlets today that the Court requalified the charges from Article 144 (2c), involving taking two or more people hostage, to a crime that carries lighter punishment – unlawful confinement of two or more people under Article 143 (3c).
Online media outlet Publika cited Kobaidze as saying that the Court delivered the ruling about a week ago, and that the defense plans to further appeal the guilty verdict at the Supreme Court.
According to the prosecution’s account, Zurabashvili took the 19 hostages with items resembling a firearm and a hand grenade.
During the incident, which lasted over three hours before police detained the assailant, Zurabashvili went live on Facebook to demand a ban on gambling, capping interest rate on bank loans at an annual 7%, lowering medicine prices and limiting the profits of pharma businesses to 10%.
Zurabashvili’s actions had split the public opinion, as his demands garnered sympathy from some amid economic hardships faced by Georgia’s residents.
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