Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 218

Loti Kobalia, former commander of the late president Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s paramilitary force, was sentenced to death yesterday by Georgia’s Supreme Court on charges of high treason, banditry, and the commission of premeditated murders. The Court also sentenced former parliamentary deputies Jambul Bokuchava, Zviad Dzidziguri, and Nugzar Molodinashvili on similar charges to "severe-regime" prison terms of 15, 13, and seven years, respectively. The charges stem mostly from the defendants’ roles in the 1993 uprising staged by "Zviadists" (Gamsakhurdia’s supporters) in western Georgia in an effort to return the deposed president to power. Gamsakhurdia committed suicide after the defeat of his forces.

The trial lasted a whole year and was punctuated by Zviadist protests inside and outside the courtroom, as was again the case yesterday. The defendants maintained throughout the process that they had represented and defended lawful state power against its alleged usurpation by Eduard Shevardnadze, whom Zviadists refuse to recognize as president. Their Round Table-Free Georgia Movement is, however, a spent force at present.

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