Tbilisi, DFWatch – A father of a victim of controversial police special operation back in 2006 was found dead on the grave of his son as result of an explosion on Tuesday.
It is still unknown whether it was a suicide or a homicide, but the Prosecutor’s Office have already launched criminal investigation of alleged premeditated murder under aggravating circumstances.
The deceased businessman Yuri Vazagashvili had become a public figure after actively protesting the 2006 police raid that killed two young men, including his 26 year old son, who were suspected of armed robbery. Accounts vary about whether the two were linked to the crime, although the second killed, Alexandre Khubulov, had been convicted of other crimes previously.
The explosion occurred at the grave of Zurab Vazagashvili, one of the killed in the 2006 raid, nearby the village of Karapila, about 50 km west of Tbilisi center, in Kaspi municipality.
Relatives of Yuri Vazagashvili immediately ruled out that it was a suicide. They claim that someone had planted explosives under the flowers at the gravestone. Vazagashvili attended the funeral of a neighbor in the village where he had a house, and then came to see his son’s grave when the explosives were set off.
The Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation under section 109 of the Criminal Code about premeditated murder under aggravating circumstances.
No details have been made public so far. The Prosecutor’s Office declines to comment on the issue on behalf of interests of the investigation.
On May 2, 2006, the car with three young men inside was rained with bullets in central Tbilisi, near where the House of Justice is today. Police claimed that the men opened fire first from inside the car, but this account has been contradicted by witnesses and human rights activists who claim that the police shot at the car without anyone firing first from inside the car. The police, on the other hand, claimed that firearms were found in the car.
This special operation has still been remained highly controversial. Yuri Vazagashvili tried many times to confront those responsible for this operation legally, but to no avail. In February, 2013, a memorial to the two who were killed was unveiled at the place of the shooting, near the entrance to the House of Justice. Current Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani was also present at the opening ceremony of the memorial to the victims of the police shooting, Zurab Vazagashvili and Alexandre Khubulov.