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Prosecutor Charges Former Deputy Head of State Security Service

The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia announced in a statement on July 17 that they officially filed charges against Ioseb (Soso) Gogashvili, the former deputy head of the State Security Service of Georgia (SSG), after he was arrested in a special operation on July 16.

Gogashvili was charged with Articles 333, exceeding official powers, 157(4) obtaining, storing, and distributing personal data by using one’s official position, and 236(3) the illegal purchase and storage of firearms and ammunition, of the Criminal Code of Georgia. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the charges carry a prison sentence of four to seven years.

It noted that during his time at the SSG from 2015 to 2018, Gogashvili exceeded his official authority by taking data out of the office for “personal purposes, and kept it in his home, some of which was disseminated publicly with the participation of Ioseb Gogashvili, which violated the constitutional rights of citizens causing significant damage. In addition, there was a threat of disclosure of state secrets.”

The charges were filed following a search of his residence which revealed “secret state documents related to the activities of the State Security Service, [including] documents containing private and personal data, dozens of technical equipment, and illegal firearms.”

The Tbilisi City Court ruled today to keep Gogashvili in jail as he undergoes a trial.

Special Investigative Service Opens Investigation

The Special Investigation Service of Georgia (SIS) confirmed to on July 18 that it had opened an investigation into circumstances surrounding Gogashvili’s arrest by law enforcement officials under Article 333(3b) of the Criminal Code which envisages exceeding official powers using violence or a weapon and carries a sentence of 5 to 8 years imprisonment.

For its part, the State Security Service of Georgia (SSG) stated that Gogashvili did not comply with law enforcement orders and that “proportional measures were used within the limits established by legislation.”

Notably, Gogashvili’s arrest was preceded by the dissemination of a secret audio recording by TV host and singer Gia Gachechiladze, who has had close ties with the government, of Mtavari Arkhi TV journalists discussing how to cover “secret files” given to them by Gogashvili. The former deputy head also authored a July 15 Facebook post after the distribution of the secret recording, which exposed authorities’ falsification of last year’s local elections and claimed that Gogashvili already provided evidence of the “entire structure” to media and other organizations.

Note: This article was updated on July 18 at 17:55 to reflect the Court’s, SIS’, and SSG’s decision to keep Gogashvili in jail throughout the trial. 

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


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