TBILISI, DFWatch–There has twice been a change of prosecutor in the case against former prison minister Bacho Akhalaia for the 2006 prison riot.
Prosecutor Ia Darjania on Monday asked the judge to replace her, because she cannot make independent decisions ‘due to certain conditions.’
Darjania explained that she has certain connections to Akhalaia. Just like Akhalaia’s wife, she is also from Abkhazia, a Georgian breakaway region, and their common relatives are putting psychological pressure on her both personally and through social media.
“In addition, Akhalaia’s lawyer Giga Oniani is my friend. There were certain discussions on social media about the photo where I am with him and the other lawyer, Romeo Sajaia,” she said, adding that considering all the above, she will find it difficult to make objective decisions.
Her request was criticized by Akhalaia’s lawyers, who said that her arguments weren’t quite strong and she attempted to drag out the trial.
Giga Oniani said that he never had any friendly relations with Darjania outside of official duties, and the fact that he was in a photo with her doesn’t mean that they are friends.
“I am in photos with all the prosecutors,” he remarked.
His client, Bacho Akhalaia, also said that the prosecutor just wants to drag the process out in time.
Judge Lasha Chkhikvadze said when the prosecutor doubts that she isn’t able to make independent decisions, then she must be replaced.
A new prosecutor will attend the trial when it continues on October 17.
Several hearings ago, Prosecutor Revaz Nadoi was absent, and Ia Darjania subsequently replaced him.
She asked for one month to get familiarized with the case, but was only given ten days. At the next hearing, she asked for a twenty day extension, and was given a week more. The defense believes this was an attempt to delay the process.