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Closed Trial

18.03.2011

Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti


Kvareli district court discusses the case of the former director of the public school in Balghojiani village Zurab Tabagari at closed trials. Tabagari is accused of the attempt to have a sexual intercourse with the school-girl and of the abuse of his professional power. The former director does not plead guilty in the accusation on debauched activities. The villagers believe Tabagari is detained for political grounds.

Prosecutor Zurab Bikashvili requested to discuss Tabagari’s case at closed trials. “The case is about an attempted sexual intercourse with a juvenile and consequently, it shall be closed hearing,” said the prosecutor. Attorney of the accused Tamar Metreveli partly agreed with the solicitation of the prosecutor. She said Tabagari is accused of two crimes. “We can discuss the case about juvenile at a close trial but the charge about abuse of the power shall be discussed at open trials,” said Tamar Metreveli. The accused did not agree with his attorney and the prosecutor. He suggested the judge to discuss the case at the open trial because he does not plead guilty in any crimes and wants the society to get convinced in his innocence. The judge partly satisfied the solicitation of the prosecutor. “We have to discuss charge about sexual crime and thus we should take measures not to make the personal and intimate details public,” said Judge Vakhtang Mrelashvili. The part of the case about debauched activities with the pupil shall be discussed at the closed court hearings.

The residents of the Balghojiani village and school teachers arrived at the Court to support Zurab Tabagari.

“Majority of school teachers are here because we know Zurab Tabagari and respect him as an honesty and hardworking person. We believe he had not committed this crime. We hope, the court will be impartial,” said interim director of the Balghojiani public school Naira Martiashvili.

“It is false accusation. The teachers from the National Party sued him at the prosecutor’s office; they were angry because of the lost elections in the village and revenged him. We have not seen the “victim” girl in the village since then; I do not know where they have taken her,” said resident of Balghojiani village Tamar Ghvinadze.

Law enforcement officers detained Zurab Tabagari in September of 2010. Teachers sued Tabagari in June of 2010. On June 9, the TV-Company “Imedi” reported that teachers blamed the school director in the attempt of raping the school-girl.

Kakheti News Center carried out journalistic investigation on this topic. The investigation revealed that all four teachers, who sued the director, were activists for the National Movement during the municipal elections on May 30, 2010. Maia Tsertsvadze was a commission member in Balghojiani village election precinct from the National Movement; Nino Modebadze is a sister-in-law of the single mandate candidate of the ruling party in the municipal elections and supported him during the election campaign; Liana Kupatadze was agitator of the ruling party in the village; Eldino Iobashvili coordinated the ruling party in the village. The National Movement lost municipal elections in Balghojiani village. The suitor teachers connected their failure with the school director. Before detention, Zurab Tabagari told us that before the elections the representatives of the ruling party met him and asked to support their candidate during the elections and suggest the school teachers to support him too; Tabagari refused.

If the court finds him guilty in the accusation, Zurab Tabagari will have to spend 6 years in prison.




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