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5 Oct, 2007 14:26

Zhvania’s death still a mystery?

It has been eighteen months since the mysterious death of the former Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania, but the final results of the investigation have still not been released. His death shocked the country and members of Zhvania’s family claim it was

Now the death of Georgia’s first Prime Minister is once again in the spotlight, after former Defence Minister Irakli Okruashvili cast doubt on the official explanation two days before his arrest on corruption charges.

Zurab Zhvania, a former Parliament Speaker, was one of the leaders of the Rose Revolution of 2003 that brought President Mikhail Saakashvili to power. He became the country’s first Prime Minister in 2004 and was the main architect of Georgia’s massive reform project.

I don’t want to speculate on this topic and I am not going to say that Zhvania was killed for sure. I don’t have that information. But there is one thing I know for sure – that his body was moved to the apartment, where he is reported to have died.

Irakli Okruashvili, Georgia's former Defence Minister

Then, on February 3, 2005, tragedy struck. The Prime Minister was found dead in the flat of provincial official Raul Yusupov. Zurab Zhvania apparently became a victim of CO poisoning from a faulty gas heater.

The death sent shockwaves through Georgia, and many immediately suspected foul play.

An investigation was launched, and experts from the FBI arrived to assist.

The results backed up the conclusion of death by accidental poisoning, but doubts still remain.

Zurab Zhvania’s brother Georgy never believed the official version of his brother’s death, and has hired private investigators to conduct their own investigation.

“Of course, the family does not believe the official version. We know for sure that it was a planned assassination. All the evidence we’ve gathered points at this conclusion,” Georgy says.

Georgia’s Prosecutor General’s Office refuses to make any comment about the case. Though it has been more than two years since his tragic death, the final results of their investigation have not yet been announced. But even after they are, it is certain that speculation will remain over the mysterious death of the Georgian first Prime Minister.