Court Acquits Opposition’s Ugulava in Airport Incident Case

The Tbilisi City Court, on March 9, acquitted opposition politician Gigi Ugulava in the 2019 airport incident case, in which he stood accused of beating judoka Badri Gavashelishvili.

The altercation took place at the dawn of December 11, 2019. According to Ugulava, he and his party colleague Giorgi (Goka) Gabashvili were assaulted at the departure terminal of the Tbilisi Airport. Later, one of the alleged assaulters was identified as Badri Gavashelishvili, a judo champion, who claimed he had received repeated blows from Ugulava in the brawl.

Ugulava was charged for beating Gavashelishvili, while Gabashvili was granted a victim’s status.

Judge Badri Kochlamazashvili, explaining his decision to rule in favor of Ugulava, said the court needed additional evidence to determine which version of events presented by the parties during the hearing of the case was real. This evidence, according to him, was not presented to the court.

Ugulava disagreed with the judge’s reasoning and argued that “he could have removed the [airport] camera recordings, but did not.”

“I think this is not a celebration of justice,” the opposition politician told reporters, stressing that due to the “resonance” and “absurdity” of the case, the judge “defended his own self” with the verdict.

At the same time, the court today found David Parkadze, a man accompanying judoka Gavashelishvili, guilty in the case. He was accused of beating Goka Gabashvili by the investigation and was fined. According to the media, he was acquitted based on a plea agreement. has reached out to the Court to clarify the amount of the fine imposed on Parkadze. We will update the article accordingly.

The Prosecutor’s Office filed charges against Gigi Ugulava under Article 126 of Georgia’s Criminal Code on December 11, 2019. On December 12, the Tbilisi City Court imposed GEL 2000 bail and restricted his foreign travel, ordering Ugulava to hand over his ID card and passport to the investigating body. On March 9, 2020, the Tbilisi City court revoked the bail and canceled the decree demanding Ugulava to hand over his documents.

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