TBILISI, DFWatch – The kidnapping and killing of a 10 months old girl from an opposition activists’ family has pushed a strained electoral atmosphere towards the boiling point.
A ten-month old infant was today found dead in a pitcher full of water after declared missing by her family. The child’s family claims it was an act of vengeance on political grounds.
The family started looking for Barbare Rapaliani at about 8:30 pm on Sunday in the village Kolagi near the town Gurjaani, in the Kakheti region in eastern Georgia.
“We were having supper on a balcony, second floor. The child was sleeping on the first floor in her bed,” one of the family memberd told Information Center of Kakheti (ICK). “Five minutes later they went down to see the child, who disappeared, taken from her bed.”
She was found in a pitcher full of water, covered with a stone.
Family members say it is related to political vengeance, as an aunt of the child is a village coordinator for the main opposition coalition Georgian Dream.
“There were threats before and they did it,” they say.
Manana Berikashvili, majoritarian candidate for parliament for the Georgian Dream coalition in Gurjaani, told journalists that supporters of the Gurjaani candidate for the ruling National Movement party blackmailed relatives of the child.
She says the aunt of the deceased says there was pressure on her, and they even proposed money to her instead of support for Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement party (UNM). The family says relatives of Giorgi Ghviniashvili, candidate for the ruling party and former prosecutor, was personally threatening her.
Manana Berikashvili, a majoritarian candidate for parliament for Georgian Dream, yesterday evening blamed the National Movement party for the death of the child, while other leaders of Georgian Dream were more cautious.
“She was repeatedly threatened, there were attempts to bribe and threaten her, that’s why people have a suspicion that those threats are related to the death of the child,” Berikashvili told TV 9.
Meanwhile, Maia Panjikidze, spokesperson for Georgian Dream, said the coalition refrains from seeking political grounds for this tragedy and called on Gurjaani residents to keep calm and avoid political confrontation. She appealed to law enforcers to immediately investigate the case and clarify the reasons for the kidnapping and death of the ten-month old child.