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Investigation Process In Zestaponi Is In A Deadlock(part II)

Journalistic Investigation

Ever since the Human Rights Centre expressed her concern over the death of Rostom Khidasheli on Zestaponi railway station the case finally gained momentum. Investigator Gela Tsitelashvili declares that he plans to finish the case at the end of October and our (Human Rights Centre) involvement does not have any impact on the investigation process. But we have to consider that the former employers of Khidasheli and the managers of the railway station are interested in the investigation process and in fact the situation has already changed. Rostom Khidasheli‘s father, Sasha Khidasheli, told us that two representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, who are working in the Transport Objects Defense Department of the Defense Police in Zestaponi, visited his family several days ago. These “self-invited guests” told the family members that they were sent by their commanders for a “private talk.”

“These two people did not indicate who was responsible for sending the head of the railway station, Mr. Valeri Chachua, or the head of the Zestaponi Defense Service of the Defense Police Department, Mr. Gela Meskhia, to them. But they explained the aim of their visit in the following way: “Our supervisors are interested in talking with you so they would like to meet you and set up an appointment. This means that because someone paid attention to the investigation process the heads of the Zestaponi Defense Service have started to renew negotiations” - says Sasha Khidasheli.

As it turns out the family members of Rostom Khidasheli have continuously addressed the abovementioned  institutions after the accident, but they have only been insulted and humiliated by them. After the Human Rights Centre showed her interest in the case. the situation has changed completely.

“I don’t know what they want to talk to me about, but I am not refusing to meet them. I can understand that if someone has to go to the jail it will harm his or her family, but they seem to forget that our son is dead, What can we do? I can make some concessions (in the honor of my son) those who accused before the court and I will  try to be flexible, but they should not taint the memory of my son. I am not going to make an illegal deal with somebody and put the full responsibility on my dead son.” - said Sasha Khidasheli. The interests of the complainant (the father of Rostom Khidasheli) and his family are being protected by Nino Kankava, a lawyer for the Kutaisi office of the Human Rights Centre. It has become clear that the investigators have had their own agenda during the court proceedings. We firmly believe this because the investigator, Gela Tsitelashvili, phoned to the Kutaisi office of the Human Rights Centre and stated to the coordinator that he could not reach Nino Kankava and if she did not visit him he would appoint another lawyer to the Khidasheli family. In private talks we had with Sasha Khidasheli it became clear that the investigator had already proposed a new lawyer. It seems that the investigator is worried because the Kutaisi Office of the Human Rights Centre expressed her wish to assist in this case and “stuck her nose” in it.

“Since the court satisfied my application to involve me in the case as the lawyer for the complainant, I have acquainted myself with the conclusions and results of the forensic investigation and I have petitioned the investigator to grant us the right to submit a civil action. We have demanded the small amount of approximately GEL 10.000 for immaterial damages and all the guilty parties should contribute to this amount. As for the investigation process, the investigator has declared that there are two persons officially under investigation and will be charged: the assistant-manager of the station and  the park supervisor. The investigators do not mention any charges being brought against other employees or high officials in this stage of the investigation. The investigator said that these two people will be charged under article 170, part II of the Code of Criminal Procedural Law”- says Nino Kankava.

The statement of the investigator that only these two peoples are guilty does not satisfy Khidasheli’s family.
Sasha Khidasheli: But what about the manager of railway station?

Gela Tsitelashvili: In this stage we don’t have any evidence supporting an accusation.

Journalist: Mr. Tsitelashvili, you have stated in previous talks and you state now as well that during this accident the switches and the character of the signs have changed for the indicated rail-track of the railway station. If nobody was responsible for this and generally all this did not have any connection to the accident, then why have they been changed? As we know, only the assistant-manager of the station and the park supervisor were responsible?

Gela Tsitelashvili: I have also asked the managers of the railway station this question and do you know what they have told me? “Most of our instructions are written in the blood of humans.”

Journalist: How dare you make such a claim?

Gela Tsitelashvili: When am accident happens they start to think about the problems and they make some changes for the purpose of improving their instructions.

It is unknown to us which official or employee made this statement and when the court proceedings start we will find out who said  the following words: “We are writing our instructions with the help of human blood”

And finally we will soon decide to satisfy the demand of the family to grant an appropriate pension to Khidasheli’s small children, which will be equal to Khidasheli’s wage, as is in accordance with the law. His family has demanded this for 18 months. As the lawyer states, the court proceedings against the railway station will commence in the near future.

 Shorena Kakabadze, Kutaisi.

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