TBILISI, DFWatch — A colonel in Georgia’s armed forces who recently chaired Georgian peace divisions in Afghanistan has been arrested. His arrest was announced 45 days after it happened, 15 days earlier than his punishment was to end.
Opposition channel TV9 reported the arrest of Nikoloz Janjghava. Later the interior ministry confirmed that he had been arrested at 20:00 August 20 for resisting police.
None of his family, nor law enforcers, reported about the arrest of the colonel.
Nikoloz Janjghava recently held an official position. He was in Afghanistan chairing Georgia’s peacekeeping divisions. He is knight of honor; holds the military Medal of Honor, first ranger and Green Beret.
He took courses of US Army infantry unit commander, US Army air – landing and US Army Ranger courses in Fort Benning in the state of Georgia in 1995-96. He also took preparatory course for US Army Special Units of Officer at Fort Bragg in the State of Carolina in 1999-2000 and he was at US Army’s General Headquarter Academy in 2001-2002 at fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Colonel Janjghava has an image as a direct and strict reformer, who twice left the Georgian army as a sign of protest, but his name is related to crush of reservists’ preparation system.
Reservists’ service was set up in 2006, based on his concept, but in the war of August 2008, it emerged out that the system didn’t work. But the issue of his responsibility wasn’t raised and he was appointed as military attaché in Greece, Serbia and Macedonia.
For a month and a half it was not reported that he was arrested. According to the official charges he was drunk and resisted police.
Roin Migriauli, his lawyer, says that he was sentenced to 80 days administrative detention, but upon appeal the court reduced it to 60 days.
“He is a political prisoner, hostage of this government. All political prisoners are arrested with the same accusation,” his lawyer says.
Family members do not comment on this issue. The lawyer says the reason is pressure on family members. The family confirms that Janjghava is a political prisoner and remarks that he is a hostage of Bacho Akhalaia, former Interior Minister, considered to be related to torture in prisons.
“Janjghava believes he is a political prisoner. He has authority in the army, but is now placed in isolation without influence on the process – the government prevented it. Nikoloz Janjghava used to be an apolitical person, but the government felt danger considering his authority,” Roin Migriauli says.
He said they waited ‘political situation being put in order’, that’s why they haven’t reported about the arrest before.
Georgian commentators on military issues consider it suspicious that he was arrested on political grounds ‘considering Janjghava characteristics’. They do not exclude that his arrest was fair.