TBILISI, DFWatch–A court in Georgia has decided that four officials in Tbilisi City Hall were detained in violation of law, but sentenced all of them to pre-trial detention.
June 27, Davit Alavidze, Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi, Davit Avaliani, Head of Tbilisi Development Fund, Alexi Tabuashvili, Head of City Hall’s purchasing service and Dimitry Chkheidze, Deputy Gamgebeli of Krtsanisi district, were detained charged with appropriation and embezzlement of about USD 30 million.
The four Sunday appeared in Rustavi City Court, 20 km away from the capital. At the beginning of the hearing, the judge said all of them had been detained in violation of law and released them from the defendant’s box. But at the end of the hearing, the court sentenced all four to pre-trial detention.
If convicted, the City Hall officials may face from 7 to 11 years in jail.
The parliamentary opposition suspended work in parliament in protest against their detention. Many of the National Movement’s parliamentarians attended today’s hearing in Rustavi. They claim the detentions is an attack on the party.
Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava said Sunday’s hearing was ‘legal fraud’. He also said he believes the Prosecutor’s Office put pressure on the Rustavi court, but added he could not provide proof for this.