The Prosecutor’s Office should thoroughly investigate the armed attack on the former Mayor of Dmanisi - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

The Prosecutor’s Office should thoroughly investigate the armed attack on the former Mayor of Dmanisi

13 December, 2023

On November 1, 2023, the former Mayor of Dmanisi, Giorgi Tatuashvili, who is now in opposition to the authorities, was subjected to an armed attack. While he was riding a car, two persons followed him and fired several shots in his direction. According to Tatuashvili, the attack was caused by his activities in the opposition, while the attackers are active supporters of the ruling party – Zurab Okmelashvili and Koba Menabdishvili.[1]

Koba Menabdishvili is the former director of JSC Rich Metals Groups (RMG) and a brother of Davit Menabdishvili, the head of the election headquarters of the Georgian Dream party in Dmanisi during the 2020 parliamentary elections. Zurab Okmelashvili figures in several episodes of violent confrontation against opposition supporters in Dmanisi during the pre-election periods of 2020 and 2021.[2]

Giorgi Tatuashvili was elected as the Dmanisi Municipality's mayor from the Georgian Dream ranks in 2017. Tatuashvili was also the head of the Dmanisi district organization of the ruling party. In August 2020, he was expelled from the ruling party. Before that, he had declared support for MP Kakha Okriashvili, who had left the parliamentary majority and joined the bloc of the United National Movement. In the local elections 2021, Giorgi Tatuashvili was the mayoral candidate in Dmanisi from the bloc United National Movement – Strength in Unity.

The Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into the attack on the former Mayor of Dmanisi, as a result of which the agency filed charges of a premeditated murder attempt against Menabdishvili and Okmelashvili in absentia.[3] The court sentenced them to pre-trial detention, although the persons charged with the grave crime have yet to be detained.

Giorgi Tatuashvili has stated that he does not expect an objective investigation and pointed to problems during the investigation, including incomplete information extracted from surveillance cameras; the investigation authorities have not requested the data from the mobile phones of the accused for analyzing their movement routes; the case file does not contain information on whether or not the accused have crossed the state border; the investigation authorities have not requested information on the bank transactions of the accused, etc.

The former Mayor of Dmanisi also singles out several violent incidents that took place in the past (including cases of violence against opposition supporters) during the pre-election periods of 2020 and 2021, which also involved Zurab Okmelashvili, although the law enforcement agencies didn’t take an interest in possible criminal acts committed by him due to his close ties with the ruling party.

On September 21, 2021, the mayoral candidate for Dmanisi nominated by the United National Movement and the then Mayor, Giorgi Tatuashvili, was holding a pre-election meeting in the village of Gantiadi, Dmanisi Municipality, when, according to him, the meeting participants were attacked by members of the local headquarters of the Georgian Dream. Tatuashvili states that one of the organizers of the meeting was Zurab Okmelashvili. Two opposition activists were wounded with melee weapons during the confrontation. The police detained Davit Dautashvili, the son of one of the majoritarian candidates of the Georgian Dream, for wounding people using a melee weapon. The investigation was launched on the charges of intentional infliction of serious harm to health and violence committed by a group of people,[4] which is punishable by imprisonment from 3 to 6 years. According to publicly disseminated information, the detainee, Dautashvili, was later placed in a psychiatric institution,[5] from which he was released in several months.[6] The Ministry of Internal Affairs didn’t interview Zurab Okmelashvili in connection with this case.

On September 15, 2020, a member of the election headquarters of Kakha Okriashvili, Omar Mumladze, was attacked in the city of Dmanisi.[7] According to Kakha Okriashvili and Giorgi Tatuashvili, the attackers included Zurab Okmelashvili. As a result of the attack, Omar Mumladze sustained an injury. In spite of the fact that the incident took place in the city center and was captured by surveillance cameras, the culprits were not punished and Okmelashvili was not even interviewed in connection with the case.

On October 21, 2021, a physical confrontation took place among activists in the election headquarters of the Georgian Dream in Dmanisi, during which several persons sustained gunshot wounds.[8] The investigation into the incident was launched under the articles of intentional infliction of serious harm to health and unlawful acquisition and storage of firearms. The majoritarian candidate Kakha Okriashvili then stated that the three persons had been wounded at the time of the incident by the activist of the Georgian Dream, Zurab Okmelashvili.[9] At that time, TI Georgia also responded to this fact, calling upon investigative bodies to quickly identify those responsible for the incident.[10] No one was held responsible in the case, with the victims stating that they had sustained the injuries for an everyday banal reason and denying the existence of any kind of conflict.[11]

Holding the elections of 2024 in a free and competitive pre-election environment is critical for the country’s democratic development and EU integration. The authorities bear the responsibility for responding in a strict and unequivocal manner to every case of intimidation and violence on political grounds; impunity of criminals will be perceived as encouragement of political violence, which is going to cause an irreversible damage to the election environment of 2024. 

We call upon the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia to:  

  • investigate the armed attack that took place on November 1 in a thorough manner;
  • study the possible connection of the accused with the cases of violence that took place in the pre-election periods of 2020 and 2021;
  • take all necessary measures to detain the accused.


[1] According to Giorgi Tatuashvili, he was attacked by persons close to the Georgian Dream who fired four shots in the direction of his car,, 1.11.2023,

[2] Terror and attacks in Dmanisi, Mtavari Arkhi, 25.09.2021,

[3] The Prosecutor's Office Charged Two Persons with the Attempted Premeditated Murder Committed by a Group in Dmanisi Municipality,, 7.11.2023,

[4] The Ministry of Internal Affairs solved the case of wounding in Dmanisi Municipality as a result of immediate police activities – 1 person detained,, 22.09.2021,

[5] Davit Dautashvili’s father also spoke publicly about his son’s health problems: “They knew that my son was not mentally well; that’s what they wanted” – Dautashvili’s father about the confrontation in Dmanisi,, 24.09.2021,

[6] The son of an MP from the Georgian Dream, who wounded two persons in Dmanisi, was first sent to a psychiatric institution and then released in eight months,, 5.06.2022;; the information was also confirmed by Giorgi Tatuashvili.  

[7] Confrontation in Dmanisi – attack on supporters of Kakha Okriashvili,, 15.09.2020,

[8] Shooting and argument in the election headquarters of the Georgian Dream in Dmanisi – three persons have been wounded,, 21.10.2020,

[9] Kakha Okriashvili states that an activist of the Georgian Dream, Zurab Okmelashvili, wounded three persons with firearms yesterday,, 22.10.2020,

[10] Live Blog: Election Violations and Responses,, 21.10.2020,

[11] According to Giorgi Tatuashvili, the victims testified to the investigation authorities that they had “run into reinforcing rods” and sustained injuries as a result of that.