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Third Georgian politician found dead in last few days

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4239167.stm Saturday, 5 February, 2005, Georgia state official found dead A Georgian government official has been found dead
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 5, 2005
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      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4239167.stm

      Saturday, 5 February, 2005,

      Georgia state official found dead

      A Georgian government official has been found dead in
      an apparent suicide, two days after the country's
      prime minister died from accidental gas poisoning.

      Georgy Khelashvili, 32, who worked for the pardons
      commission, was found dead of a gunshot wound in his
      home on Friday night, police in Tbilisi said.

      PM Zurab Zhvania, 41, was found dead in an apartment
      in the capital, poisoned by gas from a faulty heater.

      It is not known whether the two deaths are linked.

      Mr Khelashvili is thought to have shot himself with a
      hunting rifle borrowed from a neighbour.

      "He left a note to his family and wrote the sort of
      things people write when they commit suicide," police
      spokesman Irankly Pirtskhalava said, quoted by Reuters
      news agency.

      Police have launched an inquiry into Mr Zhvania's
      death, but the government has described it as a tragic
      accident - in which a Georgian official, Raul Usupov,
      also died.

      Thousands of people are expected to turn out for Mr
      Zhvania's funeral on Sunday.

      The authorities say that the two days of mourning are
      also being held in honour of three police officers
      killed on Tuesday near the breakaway republic of South
      Ossetia.

      Georgia will stand firm, and I hope I will stand firm
      because it is firmness that we need the most at
      present
      Mikhail Saakashvili,
      Georgian President

      Mr Zhvania was once an ally of ex-President Eduard
      Shevardnadze.

      But he turned against him and played a prominent role
      in the 2003 Rose Revolution that ousted Mr
      Shevardnadze.

      Giorgi Janashia, the Georgian state prosecutor, said
      technical experts reported that an Iranian-made gas
      heater in the flat had not been installed properly and
      there was no ventilation.

      However, Georgian newspapers have questioned whether
      the authorities are telling the truth.

      "A death or a murder?", asked the pro-opposition
      Akhali Taoba, while the centrist Rezonansi newspaper
      said the incident "raised many questions".

      On Thursday, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili
      said he was taking charge of the government. He has
      seven days to nominate a new prime minister.
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