Ex-Defence Minister Okruashvili refused bail in high-profile murder case

Former official Irakli Okruashvili was detained in the summer of 2019 for another case, related to the June 2019 protests in Tbilisi.Photo: IPN. 

Agenda.ge, 29 Jan 2020 - 14:53, Tbilisi,Georgia

Former Defence Minister of Georgia Irakli Okruashvili, who also took other top posts under the United National Movement leadership, has been refused bail in a high-profile murder case of Buta Robakidze back in 2004.

Okruashvili was charged with misuse of authority in the case in November 2019.

Okruashvili, who is in pretrial detention for another case - ‘for incitement to violence’ during the June 2019 protests in Tbilisi, currently chairs the Victorious Georgia non-parliamentary opposition party.

Tbilisi City Court will once again discuss the possibility of bail on February 10, 2020.

What is Buta Robakidze’s case?

The Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office says that Robakidze and five others were stopped by a patrol police crew late on November 24, 2004. During a check a patrol officer’s accidentally went off, resulting in the death of Robakidze at the scene.

The Prosecutor’s Office reports that “to save the image of the patrol police [which was newly introduced in the country at that time] Okruashvili instructed his employees to say that Robakidze and five others in the car were armed and they attacked police.

To achieve the goal arms were planted in the car and Robakidze and five others were declared as members of an armed, criminal group,” the Prosecutor’s Office says.

Several other, former top state officials have been charged in Robakhidze's case. Photo: Imedi TV. 

 The Prosecutor’s Office stated that, through the instruction of former Chief Prosecutor Zurab Adeishvili, the five individuals in the car were charged with membership in a criminal group.

Okruashvili and Adeishvili [who is now wanted] face three to eight years in prison if the charge is confirmed. 

Who is Irakli Okruashvili?

Okruashvili was one of the closest allies of ex-President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and was the country’s interior minister between May and December of 2004; defense minister between December 2004 and November 2006 and minister of economy between November 10, 2006 and November 17 of 2006 when he was dismissed.

In 2007 he made a scandalous comeback to politics and openly confronted Saakashvili and his government.

That same year, Okruashvili was briefly arrested at his party headquarters on charges of corruption, money laundering and abuse of power.

In 2007 he left Georgia and was granted political asylum in France.

He returned to Georgia on November 20, 2012, only after the Georgian Dream defeated the nine-year-rule of the United National Movement.