TBILISI, DFWatch–A court in Tbilisi has offered one of the suspects in the Girgvliani murder a plea bargain, after he pleaded guilty more than a week ago.
Oleg Melnikov, former Interior Ministry official, recently admitted guilt in the murder of Sandro Girgvliani in 2006.
He said he was in a car with other ministry officials when they arrived first at the Prosecutor’s Office and then at president’s palace. Even though he stayed in the car, he knew that a plan was being worked out there about how to blame four ministry employees for the murder and avoid public protest, and later organize it so that the four patsies would be released early from jail.
Sandro Girgvliani, 28, a bank employee, was murdered after a scuffle at a café in Tbilisi during a birthday party of an Interior Ministry official. The body was found with multiple injuries on January 28, 2006.
The Saakashvili government was strongly criticized for the subsequent investigation. The European Court of Human Rights said all branches of the state had cooperated to prevent justice from being done.
After the new government reopened the investigation, charges were brought against Melnikov, some officials in the Constitutional Security Department and others.
Melnikov left the country after the parliamentary election in October, 2012, but was detained in Ukraine and extradited to Georgia in September the following year.
Now he may leave jail soon, as a result of the plea deal. Prosecutor Irakli Nadareishvili on Monday told journalists that as soon as the court approves the agreement, Melnikov’s two year sentence will be replaced with two year of corrective service, and he will be barred from holding an official post for a year.
He was offered a plea bargain after admitting guilt and cooperating with the investigation.
Judge Davit Mgeliashvili on Monday approved the agreement.