Georgia's chief prosecutor resigns over teenagers' murder case after mass protests
01 June, 2018
Georgia's chief prosecutor resigns over teenagers' murder case after mass protests
Georgia’s chief prosecutor Irakly Shotadze resigned on Thursday after thousands of people gathered outside his office in Tbilisi. The protest outside the Prosecutor’s Office was caused by the verdict announced by the Tbilisi City Court on Khorava street murder case. Shotadze was leading an investigation into the stabbing deaths of two teenage boys last December.
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Ex-chief prosecutor Irakli Shotadze

Irakli Shotadze explained the reasons behind his resignation during the special briefing:

“I have always been beside you. As for the
Chief Prosecutor of the country and as for a father, there is nothing more valuable for me than your child’s life,” - ex-chief prosecutor Irakli Shotadze said addressing the parents of the teens, killed on Khorava Street in Tbilisi.

Shotadze considers that the evidence submitted to the court by the Prosecutor’s Office would ensure fair verdict on the case and all offenders will be punished, but he said that the case two sides : legal one and the humane one. Shotadze said he decided to leave his post due to the last factor.
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Zaza Saralidze, a father of murdered teenager Davit Saralidze

“For me, as for the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia, the trust of each citizen towards our state institutions is of utmost importance. Fair justice is especially valuable for me when it refers to the murder of minors. Today, the Prosecutor's Office has submitted evidence to the court that in my opinion, would ensure fair verdict on the case. The first instance court did not fully accept these evidences and there have not been fair result on this very hard case. However, the process will continue in the higher instance court and I think that all offenders will be liable to the law,” Shotadze said.
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A picture from the rally

“I’m leaving my position and hope that justice will prevail,” Shotadze said in a statement posted on the chief prosecutor’s website.

Davit Saralidze and Levan Dadunashvili, both aged 16, were killed in a brawl between students from two different schools.
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Mass protest in front of Parliament building

Davit’s father, Zaza Saralidze, has strictly criticized the investigation into their deaths, for which two other teenage boys are currently on trial.

On Thursday, one of them was found guilty of murdering Dadunashvili, while the second was convicted of attempting to murder Saralidze.

In a response, a huge protest started outside Tbilisi streets. A crowd of people were brandishing posters reading “Don’t kill!”. They marched from the chief prosecutor’s office to the Georgian parliament.
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Still from the demonstration

Zaza Saralidze has said others apart from the two accused are responsible for his son’s death.

“Shotadze’s resignation is not enough,” he told reporters on Thursday. “Others (prosecutors) should resign and all of them should be brought to trial.”
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Protesters erect a tent in front of Parliament building

Hours after the start of the protest demands became more radical with protesters demanding the whole government resign.

First Lady of Georgia Maka Chichua also joined the rally to express solidarity towards Zaza Saralidze.
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First Lady Maka Chichua also joined the rally

“I am beside those people, who are the victims of this huge tragedy, - President’s spouse Maka Chichua said at the rally outside the Chief Prosecutor’s Office.”

“I could not sit and watch TV. I am beside those people who are the victims of this huge tragedy. I, as a mother and a citizen of this country, fix my position,” the First Lady said.
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First Lady hugs Zaza Saralidze, a father of murdered teenager Davit Saralidze

Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said late on Thursday that the case would be returned to the interior ministry for further investigation and an opposition-led parliamentary commission would be set up to monitor the process. Moreover, Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia would lead the investigation process.

“Internal Affairs Minister Giorgi Gvakharia will lead the process and I will be involved in each step,”- Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said at a special briefing.
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Murdered boy's father cries after hearing the Tbilisi City Court’s verdict. May 31

"Our government is a government elected by people. I have always stood beside people. I have never avoided a direct communication with people and decided to arrive at the rally, first of all, in order to go to the father of the killed young man and to the parents of other deceased children,” he added.

Kvirikashvili said he was ready to resign, if necessary, but did not see the need to do so at the moment.
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PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili

“As soon as I’m sure that my resignation will be useful to the country, I will not think for a second,” the premier said.
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The protest rally in front of Parliament building will be resumed

The protest rally in front of Parliament building will be resumed at 16:00 today. At this stage, there are three tents in front of the Parliament building. Organizers of the rally call on citizens to join the demonstration and show solidarity to Davit Saralidze's family killed at Khorava Street.

Related stories:

Tbilisi City Court’s verdict on murder of two boys caused outrage among citizens
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