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Georgia’s former deputy interior minister detained on suspicion of office abuse

November 16, 2012, 6:47 UTC+3
No comment has come from the Georgian prosecutor general’s office
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TBILISI, November 16 (Itar-Tass) — Georgia’s former deputy interior minister Shota Khizanishvili, who is now deputy mayor of Tbilisi, has been detained on suspicion of office abuse, his lawyer told journalists on Thursday.

According to Mamuka Chabashvili, Khizanishvili was taken in custody after an interrogation at the prosecutor general’s office, although charges have not yet been brought.

No comment has come from the Georgian prosecutor general’s office. Earlier, the prosecutor general’s office said that the deputy mayor was “interrogated in the framework of a probe into the case against some interior ministry officials.” Khizanishvili and deputy director of the constitutional security department Vazha Liluashvili were summoned as witnesses. So far, no information is available about Liluashvili.

In recent years, Khizanishvili was heads of the interior ministry’s administration, and was appointed deputy minister in July 2012 after the ministerial post was taken by Bacho Akhalaya. In early November, Khizanishvili was appointed deputy mayor of Tbilisi.

Nine incumbent and former officials of the Georgian interior ministry were detained early on Thursday, Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani told reporters. They are charged with using new technologies and computer networks to collect information about private life of people, including commercial and financial information, she said. Among those detained are head of the constitutional security department Levan Karlava, who is charged with acting in excess of his office duties and illegal arrests. According to his lawyer, he is accused of organizing the kidnapping in September 2012 Besik Surmava, a bodyguard of Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is now Georgia’s Prime Minister.

Surmava disappeared shortly before the parliamentary elections of October 1. Later, local television channels made public Surmava’s video statement where he confessed of making records of telephone conversation of the Georgian Dream coalition leaders to the order of Ivanishvili. Surmava posted these records in the Internet after his disappearance. After the Georgian Dream won the parliamentary polls, Surmava returned home. He made no statements to the press but his family members said he had been abducted by law enforcement agencies and had been forces to make his televised statement.

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