News

Jailed ex-minister’s father on the offensive

by | Nov 12, 2012

Samegrelo strongman Roland Akhalaia goes on the offensive as his son, a former government minister, awaits trial. (IPN.)

TBILISI, DFWatch — The father of Bacho Akhalaia, the ex-minister who is jailed while awaiting trial for beating subordinates, demands an investigation of the defense minister.

Bacho Akhalaia was detained November 7 for abuse of powers and illegal deprivation of freedom. He was sentenced to seven weeks’ pre-trial detention, the court refusing him bail. The prosecutor’s office has said there are new complaints coming in against the ex-minister, which may translate into additional charges being brought to bear.

Bacho Akhalaia is part of a family considered to be close to President Mikheil Saakashvili. Data Akhalaia, his brother, worked at the interior ministry for years, and was head of the domestic intelligence service, the Constitutional Security Department. For the last few months, he was deputy defense minister. After Saakashvili’s party, the National Movement, lost the parliamentary election, Data’s location has been unknown.

Roland Akhalaia, the father in the family, has been chief prosecutor in the Samegrelo region, which borders on occupied Abkhazian territory. He has held a grip on the region through informal relations. Now he is a member of parliament for the National Movement, after he defeated newly appointed defense minister Irakli Alasania in the majoritarian election for Zugdidi.

Roland Akhalaia now demands an investigation of his former competitor, according to his family.

In a statement to prosecutors, Akhalaia père writes that Irakli Alasania used to send him so-called criminal authorities during the election campaign and after; demanding that he withdrew his candidacy from the election that he had won. ‘Otherwise he threatened to arrest me,” he writes.

“He started bringing masses of people from different regions of Georgia, and as promised, he attempted to create disorder, as I refused to fulfill his proposal. If there hadn’t been timely advice from the EU and US ambassadors, civic confrontation and provocation for civil war was unavoidable,” Akhalaia writes. He thinks there are indications of a crime in the actions of Alasania.

The defense minister claims that Akhalaia is lying, but notes that he is in his full rights to complain against him.

“Selective justice ended after October 1, and in our new reality every person has a right to file complaints and I am sure the court will define the truth,” Alasania said.

The chief prosecutor’s office will comment on this issue in the near future.



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