data akhalaia

Former head of “Kudi”, Data Akhalaia. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia Monday introduced new charges against a former head of the domestic intelligence agency Kudi that deals with one of the most controversial murder cases in the country’s history.

Data Akhalaia, former chairman of the Constitutional Security Department of the Interior Ministry, known as Kudi, was charged in absentia for abuse of powers, for organizing torture through abusing official position and for illegal deprivation of liberty.

Data Akhalaia’s whereabouts remain unknown. He disappeared after after the United National Movement’s defeat in the parliamentary election and change of government in October, 2012.

December 2, 2012, he was first charged for Sandro Girgvliani’s murder case, which took place in 2006. Girgvliani, 28, was a bank employee who was killed after a scuffle at one of Tbilisi’s cafes, where a birthday party was held for an official in the Interior Ministry.

The new government has reopened the investigation into the murder, an investigation which has led to several charges, including some against former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, who is currently in detention.

Monday, the Prosecutor’s Office also introduced charges related to the same case against Oleg Melnikov, a high Kudi official, and Davit Chkhitunidze, Deputy Chairman of the Justice Ministry’s general inspection.

Melnikov, who remains in detention in Ukraine, is charged with assisting in illegal deprivation of liberty, while Chkhitunidze is charged with exceeding powers.