TBILISI, DFWatch–The pathologist who conducted the autopsy on the body of Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania denies that he harassed a witness.
The trial about the prime minister’s death in 2006 continued Thursday with questioning of the pathologist Levan Chachua.
He is on trial for negligence while performing the autopsy on the PM after he was found dead in 2005.
Prosecutor Revaz Nadoi said Chachua had harassed witnesses and therefore should remain in detention.
Defense lawyers wanted their client freed, but the judge rejected their motion. Lawyers claim that as soon as the new government reopened the investigation their client cooperated with the Prosecutor’s Office and that he has never tried to run away.
Chachua explained that he was planning a trip to Germany for medical treatment, and tried to warn the prosecutor, but failed to do so because he didn’t know his phone number. A friend advised him to meet personally at the Prosecutor’s Office, which he did, and was questioned. Later he was asked to return, and this time he was detained.
Nadori also said that investigators have in their possession a letter written by Chachua to a colleague who participated in the autopsy on the bodies of Zhvania and Raul Usupov, which they say is harassment. Chachua denied this and said the prosecutor’s statement was a shame.
“With full responsibility I say that I have never made a single call meant to harass anyone,” he said.
The prosecutor also claims that the defendant’s brother, Giorgi Chachua, attempted to harass Kakha Eristavi, but Levan Chachua said this couldn’t be true, because Eristavi and his brother are old friends.
In March this year, photos were published that appeared to show that Zhvania had injuries at the time when he died. The photos challenged the official version given by Saakashvili officials, that the cause of death was gas poisoning due to a faulty heater.