President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili has pardoned five defense officials accused of embezzlement in the Cables’ Case.
The political secretary of the Presidential Administration Piqria Chikhradze made a statement regarding their release yesterday evening.
According to Chikhradze the Prosecutor’s Office did not manage to prove any accusations it had brought against five employees of the Ministry of Defense.
On January 26, the hearing of the Cables’ Case took place in the Appellate Court of Georgia, during which the Court requalified the articles on embezzlement, illegal appropriation of property and abuse of power to abuse of power in the workplace, shortening the prison term to two months.
The Cables’ Case concerns five employees of the Ministry of Defense that were arrested for allegedly misappropriating 4.1 million GEL in 2013 in a fraud tender for laying fiber-optic cables. Their arrests in 2014 caused the Free Democrats party to leave the Georgian Dream coalition and the leader of the Free Democrats, Irakli Alasania, was fired from his post of Defense Minister.
After 8 months of pretrial detention, the five employees were released on June 19, 2015. However, they were ultimately found guilty on May 16, 2016 and were sentenced to 7 years imprisonment.
They have been challenging the case in the Constitutional Court, particularly the articles on embezzlement, appropriation, and abuse of power, arguing that they can be easily misinterpreted and used in an unconstitutional manner by the prosecution.