TBILISI, DFWatch–The investigation into the death of the Georgian prime minister Zurab Zhvania in 2005 will soon enter its final stage, according to the brother of the deceased.
Goga Zhvania said Friday that it’s still unclear whether the investigators will demand to have his dead brother’s body exhumed, but if is exhumed, the procedure would be conducted with the participation of foreign experts.
He said he hopes the mystery surrounding the tragedy will soon come to light but added that he cannot say when exactly that will happen.
Zurab Zhvania was one of three leaders of the rose revolution in 2003. He and a member of his party were found dead in the friend’s apartment in February 2005. The government immediately declared the cause of death to be carbon monoxide intoxication due to a faulty natural gas powered heater, an explanation Georgians still have little confidence in.
After winning the 2012 parliamentary election, the Georgian Dream coalition as promised began investigating the case, but two years later, there is still little substantially new. Goga Zhvania currently is a member of parliament for the coalition.
In March this year, photos were published by an anonymous user on Youtube that appeared to show that Zhvania had injuries at the time when he died, thus challenging the official version given by Saakashvili officials. The Prosecutor’s Office has officially accepted these photos as evidence in the case.
After the photos were published, the pathologist who conducted the autopsy, Levan Chachua, was arrested and charged with negligence. Also two of Zhvania’s personal guards were arrested and are in detention as the court case progresses.
The family of Zhvanias has always denied the official version of his death, and hinted of a possible assassination.
The National Movement Party, which ruled Georgia at the time of Zhvania’s death but is now out of power and looking for a comeback, has stuck to the official version and are accusing Georgian Dream of immorally capitalizing on the death of Zhvania, who was once a close ally and friend of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili. Zhvania was political mentor for Saakahvili’s and most of his allies during the Shevardnadze era, in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
However, in March, the former president said in an interview on Rustavi 2 that during the investigation of Zhvania’s death, his widow was only interested in money which she thought her husband owned. Zhvania’s family responded with accusing Mikheil Saakashvili of lying.