Cache & Compromising Evidence
20 June, 2013
Cache & Compromising Evidence
Meeting with Diplomats without U.S. Ambassador

Meeting between the Interior Minister and diplomatic corps is over. About 50 representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in Georgia, including the Ambassadors of the EU, Holland, Italy and Latvia, attended the meeting. The diplomats left the Ministry without making any comment. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has detained 9 people in connection with the hidden cache discovered in the Samegrelo region. One of the detainees is a former employee of the Defence Ministry and
two are police officers, said Interior Minister Irakli Gharibashvili. According to the Minister, one of the detainees had been raping people.
The meeting of the Minister of Interior Irakli Gharibashvili with diplomatic corps was not attended by U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland. 
Neither the Deputy U.S. Ambassador attended the meeting, though the representatives of the Embassy were present at the meeting, an InterpressNews correspondent reported.
The reason of Norland’s absence at the meeting is unknown.
About 50 representatives of diplomatic corps accredited in Georgia, including the EU Ambassador, attended the meeting. Representative of the EUMM also attended the meeting. 
The Minister of Internal Affairs met with the diplomatic corps behind closed doors. The Minister presented the video footage discovered in the hidden cache in the Samegrelo region. 
Later, U.S. Embassy to Georgia explained why the Ambassador had not attended meeting with the Minister of Internal Affairs. According to the Embassy, the Ambassador could not attend the meeting because of a previous engagement.
“Embassy was well represented by senior members of the staff. Three members of the staff led by our counselor for international law enforcement affairs, attended the meeting, Ambassador Norland had a previous engagement’, the Embassy’s statement says.
Interior Minister Irakli Gharibashvili says it is necessary to punish those who are responsible for the existence of the hidden cache of weapons and drugs. Gharibashvili said after a meeting with diplomatic corps that this is a problem of the previous government.
According to Gharibashvili, apart from weapons and drugs there were many other materials in the cache, including video footage showing torture of people.
‘We think this was a systemic problem. This is a problem of the previous government, the previous regime’, Gharibashvili said.
The Minister said he could not elaborate on the details, though noted the public should get answers to all questions.
‘I want to remind everyone that Vano Merabishvili was a Minister at that time. Everyone, who is responsible for this terrible actions, should be punished’, the Minister said.
A large arms cache was unearthed in western region of Samegrelo, which was hidden under “the direct supervision of former high ranking officials of the interior ministry during the previous authorities,” the Georgian Interior Ministry said on June 17. 
Underground cache included “large amount of explosives and explosive devices; hand grenades; firearms and other weapons and military munitions; communications gear, as well as large amount of narcotics and psychotropic medicines including heroin, opium, cocaine, subutex etc,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
Video footage released by the Interior Ministry shows about two dozen of Kalashnikov assault rifles; at least seven RPG launchers; over 90 hand grenades and other munitions and military gear, which were supposedly stored underground in plastic barrels.
The Interior Ministry said that the cache also included video tapes showing “brutal torture, sexual abuse, beating and inhuman treatment of individuals by representatives of the law enforcement agencies.”
The Interior Ministry said that cache also included records and files, containing photos and private data of some of those individuals who were in the opposition to the previous authorities and “whose arrest was planned in case of victory of the United National Movement party in the October 1, 2012 parliamentary elections.” The ministry said that some of these files were handwritten making it possible “to promptly identify and arrest” those who compiled these records.
The Interior Ministry, which did not specify an exact location where the cache was found, said that unearthing of this storage helped “to prevent an especially grave crime directed against the state and public security.”
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