British expert turned MIA upside down
15 September, 2011
British expert turned MIA upside down

Goka Gabashvili, Leader of Majority: “I don’t know what they confirmed, or who they are; I don’t care.”

The major events that occurred on the main avenue of the Georgian Capital in the turn of 26 May (i.e. extremely heavy-handed dispersal of the protest rally resulting in deaths) is going to remain the subject of controversy and scandals further on. The fresh example is the scandalous report of the examination conducted by a British expert at the request of Georgian Young

Lawyers’ Association (GYLA). GYLA announced the results of the examination last week.

Despite the scandalous nature of the results, our Authorities did not move a brow. Quite the contrary, they accused GYLA (at the moment thay did not dare to touch British expert too) of weaving political intrigues. They enthusiastically downplayed the conclusion of the expert as if that expertise were done at a layman’s lab and not by a respectable expert, highly skilled in his field.

Nika Kvintradze was taking part in the 25-26 May night rally in front of the Parliamentary building. After the violent rally crackdown he disappeared. Eventually, on 27 May the law enforcers found him and Suliko Asatiani lying dead on the roof of a shop in the vicinity of Rustaveli Metro Station. After a short while, Nika Kvintradze’s friend who used to accompany Kvintradze during the rally that night, stated that Kvintradze was arrested by the police during the crackdown. What is more, he was quick to recognize Kvintradze on photos showing various scenes of the crackdown. This friend of Kvintradze argued that Kvintradze could not turn up on the top of the shop because he was already handcuffed. The Ministry of Internal Affairs immediately discarded such a scenario by insisting that Kvintradze had not been detained that night and quoting its own expertise to name the electrocution as the cause of the death to both Kvintradze and Asatiani.

GYLA decided to conduct an independent investigation of the 25-26 May crackdown. It sent the special material to the UK and received the conclusion that decimated MIA’s version of Nika Kvintradze’s death.

The British expert used morphological comparison to ascertain that the passport and post-mortem photos and Rustavi-2 video shots feature the same man. He found a total of 7 matches (!). To be more specific, the British expertise proved that the police did arrest Nika Kvintradze during the infamous crackdown: “the expertise confirms that Kvintradze was indeed detained by the police. Furthermore, throughout the night and subsequent military parade the police had imposed the strictest control over the area where the dead bodies were found later and it is therefore doubtful that Nika Kvintradze and 60-year old Suliko Asatiani got to the supermarket roof unnoticed and later were found dead. One of the witnesses was hiding in the yard of youth palace in the 26 May night but abandoned the place in the morning through the roof of that very shop, seeing no corpses there. This confirms the suspicion that Nika Kvintradze fell victim of an excessive use of force,” states GYLA Head Tamar Chugoshvili.

However, this version is utterly disregarded by MIA. It has released video footages which, as it claims, prove that the photo of the man believed by GYLA to be the late Nika Kvintradze is actually Giorgi Bakradze from Kareli town!  MIA also released Bakradze’s testimony acknowledging that he was the man depicted on the photo, not Kvintradze.

The official MIA website published video footages of Kvintradze and Bakradze participating in the rally. The videos are accompanied by Bakradze’s admittance that at that time he was at the rally and was arrested in the vicinity of Rustaveli Metro Station. According to the statement of Shota Utiashvili, Head of MIA Analytical Department, “the expertise confirmed that Nika Kvintradze got killed from the electric shock sustained from the dysfunctional power lines over the roof. Regarding the Rustavi-2 video footage, Kvintradze’s friend is also present on it. Kvintradze wears blue shirt but his friend claimed that Kvintradze was dressed in a jacket of different color,” asserted Utiashvili.

According to Tamar Chugoshvili, the MIA arguments fail to counter the conclusion of highly qualified expert invited by GYLA. The latter demands that the evidence be handed over to him and plans its examination.

Tamar Chugoshvili: “If MIA provides us with the photos of these persons, we would conduct their detailed examination. It is interesting, at what sort of results shall we arrive?”

According to Shota Utiashvili, GYLA is capable of finding Bakradze and holding the expertise on its own and that MIA is not inclined to conduct a new investigation of the same matter.

The scandal attracted Goka Gabashvili, Majority representative, who advised GYLA to save its own reputation by apologizing. However, GYLA does not back off and plans to sue Goka Gabashvili. The main thing in this story is that neither MIA, nor the Majority finds the expert’s conclusion worth of their attention. The Majority strongly believes that there is no comparison between the MIA statements and the expertise of the Levan Samkharauli’s Expertise Bureau, on the one hand and “someone called British expert”, on the other.

Goka Gabashvili: “the person seen on the photo, and been claimed to be dead by GYLA, is alive, safe and sound. He gave interviews and acknowledged himself on the photo.”

Q: If the conclusion is wrong, what would you demand from the British company?

A: I do not know what materials they showed to the British expert, what they told them, who they are, what they call themselves. Frankly, I don’t care.

Dossier of the British Expert:

The expertise was conducted at the Institute of British Professional Photographs. The expert is Ken Linge, researcher of the prestigious and internationally recognized Institute of British Professional Photographs since 1981, with a Master of Science Degree in facial mapping. He is registered with the UK’s CRFP (Council for the registration of forensic practitioners) and NPIA (National Policing Improvement Agency); he has many years of experience in the development of forensic facial identification by image comparison. Linge was a member of the UK’s Home Office Working Group on digital mapping and a member of the Home Office Advisory Group to ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers). He has over 45 years of experience as a photographer with 16 years spent as the Head of the Essex Police Photographic Department in the UK. Linge trained the officers of scenes of crime in photographic techniques. Currently he trains crime scene investigation officers internationally in photographic techniques. In the past 14 years Linge has worked on over 450 cases. Linge has contributed to the development of new technologies and developing the practice of currently available technologies in the area of checking validity and reliability of evidence.


Conclusion by Linge

I got familiar with the entire video material shot by shot, using special devices. Then I studied every immovable figure on the high resolution monitor by means of deep amplification program and a full specter of figure optimization tools. The comparison of the post mortem and passport photos with #4 photo did not reveal significant differences. The following similarities are prominent: 1. Form of the face; 2. Hair colour at the hairline border, the forehead and temple area; 3. Both the #4 photo and post-mortem photo show significantly raised spot on the left temple which arguably was a result of a blow. The location, form and size of the spot are identical on both photos. I also conducted restrained proportional comparison between the passport photo and post-mortem photo. I rotated the latter by 90 degrees counter-clockwise, equalized the size of the figures on both photos and rectified in the net created by the computer program. Even though only vertical disposition of parameters is possible in the net, the comparison revealed a number of similarities. In addition, I placed clothing details and environmental parameters side by side on the wide monitor and compared them to each other. I found that the photos depicted the same scene but from different angles. I believe these photos are significantly solidifying the assumption that the photos show the same person.

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