GYLA Published New Findings in Nika Kvintradze’s Death
Eka Kevanishvili, Radio “Liberty”
Many questions are still unanswered in regard with Nika Kvintradze’s case, who was found dead on the top of shop in Freedom Square, Tbilisi, two days after the dispersal of May 26, 2011 protest rally.
According to official investigation’s version, he died of high-voltage electro-shock. In reply to it, on September 6 the Georgian Young Lawyers Association published the conclusion of the UK based expertise bureau which states that person from video footage and photos published by media outlets is one person – Nika Kvintradze. They compared the passport photo and post-mortem photos, as well as photos and video footage of detained person during the dispersal. All abovementioned conclusions invoke the grounded suspicion of the GYLA that protester was killed by police officers and not by electro-shock. Thus, GYLA states the state shall assume responsibility for the murder and severely punish perpetrators.
MIA categorically denies the assumption of the GYLA and states that the person from the photo is completely different person – Giorgi Bakradze a resident of Kareli district.
“GYLA decided to expertise the photos and video footage of Nika Kvintradze after Georgian media spread two controversial versions of the accident: a friend of Kvintradze alleged that a tied up man, photographed at night to May 26 in the Freedom Square, was his friend Nika Kvintradze; but the investigation declined this version from the very beginning. Consequently, on August 17, GYLA sent photo and video footage from case materials to influential British forensic bureau DABS Fingerprints/Forensics Ltd to carry out forensic image comparison of photo and video materials and asked two main questions:
„We wondered whether the materials were falsified and whether the photos and video represented one person. According to the conclusion, the documents were not falsified and photos and videos are all of the same person. Thus, the forensic image analysis confirmed that a person shown by the video and photo material recorded on the rally site was Nika Kvintradze and during the rally dispersal Nika Kvintradze was under the police detention. This allegation completely excludes the version of Georgian law enforcement bodies as if he died of electro-shock,” said the head of GYLA Tamar Chugoshvili.
GYLA has anonymous witness, whose name is not published due to his personal security, who states that next day of the dispersal he climbed the roof of the shop where allegedly Nika Kvintradze’s body was found but crossing the roof next day he could not find any corpse there.
We kindly remind you that, two days after the dispersal, when media spread information, photo and video footage about Nika Kvintradze, head of analytic department of the MIA Shota Utiashvili said: “The person who was lying on the asphalt and who was allegedly Nika Kvintradze, in fact turned up completely different person … the dead person was not found with his hands tied up. However, dead person is always taken to his family with tied up legs and hands from morgue.”
“Soon the TV-Company Rustavi 2 verified the version by its TV-story. They showed a detained person, who is wearing the same clothes as Kvintradze in the photo. In the TV-story, they compared the man from the photo with Kvintradze’s passport photo and concluded that they were different people. British Forensic Bureau found seven similarities in the photos and concluded that there is no significant difference between the detainee, a person from the video or other photos and Nika Kvintradze’s post-mortem photo taken in the morgue,” Tamta Mikeladze from GYLA recalled.
According to GYLA’s evaluation, the doubt that police might had detained Nika Kvintradze after the dispersal, was reinforced by the expertise results and it means the state is responsible for the deprivation of his life. Tamar Chugoshvili announced in the name of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association that they will provide investigation bodies with the expertise conclusion and request impartial investigation of the case as well as punishment of perpetrators.
Nevertheless, it has cleared up that the case was already closed up and the investigation process finished; so the GYLA’s statement was a surprise for the Georgian law enforcement bodies. Shota Utiashvili repeated in his interview with the Radio Liberty that person from the photo, initially perceived as Nika Kvintardze, in fact is Giorgi Bakradze who is alive and lives in Kareli district. “We immediately started investigation as soon as they alleged the police officers had killed a man and left him on top of shop. We interviewed people, studied video-materials and finally found the person from the photo alive and healthy. Consequently, the investigation was dropped. Since the society showed low interest to this fact, we did not show the interview with Bakradze either. But now, GYLA has disclosed the old case and we decided to show that interview on TV.”
In his interview Giorgi Bakradze spoke about his detention and said that police officers detained and put irons on him on the day of protest rally, but later released him.
Naturally, people wonder: Why should not they trust the conclusion of the international expertise and trust the version of the Georgian MIA? Shota Utiashvili replied to this question that the photos prove the truth and Georgian society often prefer to believe what they see rather than to the conclusions of the international expertise regardless its context.
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