“I Am Innocent and Expected Fair Verdict from the Judge,” Giorgi Demetradze Told Kviris Palitra
Thea Khurtsilava, Kviris Palitra
Football-player Giorgi Demetradze was found guilty in the adherence of criminals and was sent to prison for 6 years. Davit Gagnidze were tried together with him. Demetradze claims that he is innocent.
At the trial, when the judge gave him floor for final statement, Demetradze said – I request fair judgment and nothing else. Nevertheless, the judge found him guilty… Lawyer Marika Pkhaladze has already filed appeal to the Tbilisi Appeal Court. Before the judgment is put in legal force, Giorgi Demetradze will stay in Gldani prison.
Much was written and said about famous football player. They say Giorgi attempted suicide in the jail; they say he had quarrel with bailiffs. We tried to receive replies on these and other questions from the footballer himself.
-Giorgi, did you expect similar verdict?
-I did not expect. I was sure the judge would find me not guilty and release me from the court room. I have not committed any crime. The people attending my trial got convinced in my innocence. You all saw the prosecutor could not prove my guiltiness; they could not bring at least one witness to the court.
-You allege you are innocent. Then, why were you arrested?
-Maybe, because I did not agree with the prosecutor’s office and declined their absurd proposal; they requested me to plead guilty in the crime which I had not committed.
-Vato Kipiani was arrested for a new charge. Tell us about your relation with him; did he try to use you for some purpose?
-Vato Kipiani’s father and my father are friends. Our families have been very close for many years. Before my detention, he lived in my house in Kiev for 2-3 months. When he was released from prison, he left Georgia legally. Was it crime that he lived in my flat? On the day of detention, my friend Davit Gagnidze called me and asked to meet him.
He did not tell me why he wanted to meet me. I went to Vake district, Tbilisi with Kakha Misireli. I could not meet Dato because police detained me on my way to meeting. The police officers twisted my arms for no reason and pushed me down to the ground. I could not understand what was going on. I had no money with me. They lied saying they withdrew 30, 000 USD from me at the moment of detention. I have been playing football all my life and please, tell me how could I be a member of a criminal gang? They should at least prove that I had participated in the criminal settlement of conflict.
They found out at the trial that I had not even talked with Vato on the phone not to speak about any deals with him.
-As far as I know the prosecutor’s office offered plea-agreement to you and you declined their offer on 2-year-imprisonment, why? Will you change your position at the Tbilisi Appeal Court and accept the plea-agreement of the prosecutor’s office? Your friend Davit Peikrishvili did it and will soon leave prison.
-Tell me why should I plead guilty in the crime which I have not committed? Believe me if I had indeed committed any crime, I would have chosen alternative way. They promised to impose only two-year-imprisonment on me if I pleaded guilty but I declined their offer.
-According to our knowledge, you had problems with bailiffs. Could you tell us about the incident?
- We had to go through inspection before coming to the court. We had to show them our tongue and allow them to check our mouth. We obeyed their request. Once, when I showed them my tongue, the guard told me rudely and aggressively to do it properly. I argued and asked them to treat me properly. Then he tried to beat me. Others stopped him. Since then they started punishing me. The bailiffs were bringing me to the court in the morning and putting me in the small kitchen. For the whole day I was alone and had no one to talk to. It is really cold there. The wind blows from every direction. I tried to write a complaint, but realized that it would result in nothing. I was in these conditions till the end of the trial.
- What is it like in prison?
- I get up at 6 am. At 7 am they give us bread. In half an hour they bring the breakfast. You probably know that the detainees have right to go on a walk every day. In the morning, during 9-10pm we breathe fresh air. They bring us to the roof where there is a place for taking walk. When we come down, I exercise in the cell. Then it is the dinner time. We have a radio in the cell. I mostly listen to the radio Palitra. We read and talk… Then we have a supper and at 10 pm we have to go to bed.
- Is it essential to sleep at that time?
- At 10 pm they turn off the light and the radio and we have nothing to do but go to bed.
- There was information that you attempted to commit suicide, is it true?
- I have not attempted to commit suicide and I am not going to. I have a lot to do in life.
- According to our knowledge, you had scars on the wrist that you received in the punishment-cell.
- I was placed in the punishment-cell for 5 days. I was put in there due to laughing loud. I had to live in very hard conditions. Every morning, at 10 pm the prison official would come in, roll up my bed and put a lock on it till 10 pm. I had to stand up for the whole day long. I used to start my day by exercising. I did not know what to do when I got tired. There was a hand wash basin that had a pointed edge. I really tried to harm myself. I intentionally cut my wrist on the edge as I wanted them to move me to the prison hospital. Maybe, they thought it was an attempt of suicide. I am not going to commit suicide!
- You had many supporters at trials. Some people could not enter the court room as it was full. What do you want to tell your supporters?
- I would like to thank all those people who believe in my innocence and support me. I am innocent and I honestly expected the just verdict.
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