Prosecutors in Tbilisi Investigate Suicide of Official
from Georgian President’s Administration

TBILISI (RIA Novosti, by Marina Kvaratskheliya) — Prosecutors of Tbilisi’s Didube-Chuguri district have launched an inquiry into the suicide of Georgy Khelashvili, an official from the Georgian President’s administration.

Khelashvili was a councilor of the Georgian President’s Pardons Commission and, in parallel, held a post in the late Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania’s office, a spokesperson for the State Chancery told RIA Novosti.

The 32-year-old official committed suicide Friday night in his own flat.

"At the current stage of our inquiry we are considering suicide as the only version of what has happened," a representative of the district prosecutor’s office told RIA Novosti.

As prosecutors learned from members of Khelashvili’s family, the late official had left a letter of apology before he committed suicide. According to his relatives, Khelashvili had been in a state of deep depression over the weeks preceding the incident.

An official of Georgia’s law enforcement bodies told RIA Novosti that he categorically ruled out any link between Khelashvili’s suicide and Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania’s death on Thursday.

Related Articles:

** U.S. President Forwards Official Delegates to Georgian Premier Funeral, Lugar Leading
** Council of Europe Condoles With Georgia On Premier’s Death
** Investigators: Security Not Check Apartment Where Georgian Premier Died
** Georgia Observes Mourning Period for Late Prime Minister

U.S. President Forwards Official Delegates to
Georgian Premier Funeral, Lugar Leading

WASHINGTON, D.C. February 5 (RIA Novosti’s Arkadi Orlov) – President George W. Bush has appointed official delegates to attend the funeral of Zurab Zhvania, Georgia’s Prime Minister. Leading the delegation is Richard Lugar, prominent Republican activist, in charge of the Senate foreign affairs committee, reports the White House press service.

Zurab Zhvania, who died a sudden death, will be interred tomorrow, Sunday February 6.

Senator Lugar took a Friday night flight from Washington, D.C., to get back from Tbilisi, Monday, his staff members said to Novosti.

He was well acquainted with the deceased. They had met on many occasions in the United States and Georgia. The last time they saw each other was December 6, as the two were receiving the W. Averell Garriman award for contribution to global democratic development and the rights cause.

President Bush is also sending to the funeral Richard Miles, US Ambassador to Georgia; Paul Applehart, in charge of the federal Millennium Challenge Corporation international finance aid program; and Lorne Craner, International Republican Institute Director, and once Undersecretary of State.

Council of Europe Condoles With
Georgia On Premier’s Death

TBILISI, February 5 (RIA Novosti) – Zurab Zhvania, Georgia’s late lamented Prime Minister, had been ardently dedicated to the democratic reform cause in his country, Adam Daniel Rotfeld, Poland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and head of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, said in Strasbourg. Novosti/Georgia news agency is quoting him with reference to the CE press service.

"Zurab Zhvania was displaying great courage and ardent dedication to the Georgian democratic reform cause. He was promoting the Council of Europe’s values, and all CE heads of state will immediately feel that he is no more," said Mr. Rotfeld.

"The CE Committee of Ministers chair expressed heartfelt condolence with Zurab Zhvania’s near and dear as soon as his death was announced," adds the CE press service.

Investigators: Security Not Check Apartment
Where Georgian Premier Died

TBILISI, February 4 (RIA Novosti’s Marina Kvaratskhelia) – Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania’s bodyguards did not check household appliances, as is routine, in the apartment where he died, a spokesman for the Prosecutor General’s Investigation Board told RIA Novosti.

Mr. Zhvania and his friend and host both died of carbon monoxide poisoning, preliminary forensic expertise assumes.

The Government Bodyguard Service (GBS) confirmed according to the safety rules for the country’s supreme officers, bodyguards are to appear in the apartment half an hour before the Premier’s arrival to check all household appliances, including the gas stove proved fatal, GBS informants told RIA Novosti.

According to the rules, state official’s bodyguards are to contact their client on the telephone once every half an hour. As things were, the men made their first call as late as two hours after Mr. Zhvania arrived, said Vano Merabishvili, Police and Public Security Affairs Minister.

Maya Nikoleishvili, prominent pathoanatomist, came down strongly on Georgian authorities after they refused to have independent experts join the investigation. "What are they scheming to hush up, I wonder?" she asked in an interview with RIA Novosti.

Ms. Nikoleishvili, who has been active in detecting many sensational crimes that have shook Georgia, is raising doubts about reports of the carboxyhemoglobin concentration found in Mr. Zhvania’s posthumous blood tests. Carboxyhemoglobin is a substance made when carbon monoxide mixes with hemoglobin.

Experts said the concentration was 40 percent, compared to a lethal dose of 60 to 80 percent. A level of 40 percent certainly could not have caused death, pointed out Ms. Nikoleishvili referencing her vast medical experience. Besides, as far as she knows, there is no gadgetry in Georgia that would establish carboxyhemoglobin concentration so soon and with such precision.

The expert is very skeptical about top Georgian authorities’ determination to have FBI experts joining the investigation. "My practice has given me sufficient reasons to doubt the competence of the FBI. Here is only one example-the Georgi Sanaya case of 2001. FBI assistance was of no use then," she remarked.

Ms. Nikoleishvili led a forensic medical laboratory for many years. She conducted the postmortem examination of Georgi Sanaya, a muckraking journalist from the Rustavi 2 television company, after he was murdered in 2001.

Ms. Nikoleishvili resigned from her post after her laboratory was incorporated into the Justice Ministry. The laboratory must be an independent establishment, she said explaining her step-down protest. She is currently in private practice.

Georgia Observes Mourning
Period for Late Prime Minister

(VOA) 5 February 2005 — Mourners line up to pay tribute to Zurab Zhvania at his mother’s home in Tbilisi

Georgia is observing two days of mourning following Thursday’s death of Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania.

Authorities found the body of the 41-year-old Mr. Zhvania along with that of a friend and fellow politician, Zurab Usupov in the friend’s Tbilisi apartment.

Officials Friday confirmed that the two men had died of carbon monixide poisoning blamed on a faulty heater.

Mr. Zhvzania’s funeral is scheduled for Sunday at Tbilisi’s cathedral.

The late prime minister was prominent in the "Rose Revolution" that toppled President Eduard Shevardnadze in 2003.

Meanwhile, Georgian officials say a member of the country’s Presidential Commission on Clemency apparently has committed suicide.

Police say they found Giorgi Khelasvili at his home dead of a gunshot wound. News agency reports say the victim suffered from depression. Authorities are making no connection between the suicide and the prime minister’s death.