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Kota Kapanadze Is Persecuted for Supporting the Opposition Parties

26.06.2009
Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti

Kakheti Investigation office of the Department for Revenues arrested Kote Kapanadze, senior inspector of the Custom-House “Samtatskaro.” Kakheti regional prosecutor’s office blames Kapanadze for having caused the damage of 208 000 GEL to the state budget when he worked at the Telavi district Tax Inspection in 2007. Telavi district court bailed him with 20 000 GEL. The accused said he and his family are persecuted for supporting the opposition parties.

According to official information the investigation on the crime started on May 23, 2009. The investigation claimed Kapanadze and another employee of the tax Inspection Tengiz Iarajuli taxed the goods transported by the individual entrepreneur Mailov with 15 000 GEL and it was not correct.

Kote Kapanadze was declared suspect on June 15. Khvicha Begiashvili, Kakheti regional prosecutor, said although the investigator invited Kapanadze to the interrogation several times he did not appear. On June 22, law enforcers arrested Kapanadze in Tbilisi.

“He was at his friend’s house when more than 15 officers of the Special Unit broke into the house. He was arrested like particularly dangerous criminal,” said Giorgi Razmadze, attorney of Kapanadze. He added that prosecutor lied when he blamed his client for hiding from law enforcers. “The investigator and prosecutor’s office have not sent a single warrant to Kapanadze. The investigator called him only once on the phone and said he wanted to meet him for interrogation; however he did not say any concrete place or time of meeting. Since then, nobody called Kapanadze from the prosecutor’s office. As for the statement of law enforcers as if they could not get in touch with him, it is also false because Kapanadze had had his phone on all the time.

In general, they have groundless arguments with him. He is accused under Article 332, Part I of the Criminal Code of Georgia that means abuse of power. This article defines a person commits the crime for his/her own or other person’s benefit that contradict the legal interests of the state. The bill of particulars provided by the prosecutor’s office does not demonstrate any signs of crime because Kapanadze has not done anything for his or other person’s benefit,” said the attorney.

Kote Kapanadze does not plead guilty. He did not agree with the solicitation of the prosecutor on imposing two-month pretrial detention on him.

Prosecutor Begiashvili claimed the freedom of Kapanadze could hinder the investigation because he could influence witnesses. Besides that, the prosecutor requested the court to resign Kapanadze from his position at the Samtatskaro Custom-House. The accuser side tried to persuade the court the detainee could commit another crime at the Custom-House. The detainee and his attorney protested all solicitations of the prosecutor. The attorney said Kapanadze had worked at the Custom-House for two years and he had not received any remarks all this time.

Finally, Giorgi Gogichaishvili, Judge at Telavi district court, did not satisfy the request of Kakheti district prosecutor and bailed Kapanadze with 20 000 GEL.

Kote Kapanadze stated he and his family are persecuted for supporting opposition parties. “My brother Vazha Kapanadze works in the central HQ of the Alliance for Georgia and he represents New Rights in the district. Because of it I was often rebuked and reminded that I had no right to work in the governmental structure. Two weeks before the incident, I wrote resignation letter to the head of the department, but they did not satisfy it,” said Kote Kapanadze.

Shorena Neparidze, wife of the accused: “Several days before Kote was arrested, until he was declared suspect, strange people broke into our house in the village of Kartubani in Lagodekhi district and demanded us to produce IDs and phone numbers of each member of our family. They were interested about Vazha too. They inquired where he lived and what else he was doing besides his activities in the political party. The law enforcers were watching us every day; they follow us everywhere.”

Vazha Kapanadze, brother of the accused: “Short time ago, when we established the branch of Alliance for Georgia in the district, my brother was assisting me. The local officials did not like our family before that too, because they knew we were not fond of the government but after they saw my family members assisted me in the activities of the opposition parties they became more active to threaten us. Kote is persecuted on political grounds.”

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