Georgia: Newsagency Reports

From Rustavi-2 – presumably this is my source’s translation from the Georgian original – the story on their (slow) website is much shorter:

Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania died last night. He was found dead at a friend’s apartment by his bodyguards. Raul Usupov, deputy governor of Kvemo Kartli, also died together with him. Gas poisoning is currently being cited as the cause of their death.

At a special press conference Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, said “At about midnight Mr Zurab Zhvania arrived at his friend’s apartment. His security team waited for him for a long time outside. Since the prime minister was not answering either telephone calls or the door bell, at about 0400 or 0430 the security officials broke a window [to gain access to the apartment] and discovered the bodies of Mr Zurab Zhvania and his friend in the apartment.

We can now say that it was a gas poisoning incident. An Iranian-made gas heater was installed in that room. This must have occurred instantaneously because Mr Zurab Zhvania was sitting in an armchair at the time. The body of his friend was in the kitchen. Food and drinks were on a table, as was a backgammon board… An investigation is under way.

The bodies of Mr Zurab Zhvania and his friend have been transferred to a morgue where they are being examined.

Zhvaniya had been prime minister since February 2004. In 1995-2001 he was the parliament speaker. He was 42.


TBILISI, February 3 (RIA Novosti) – Experts found no gas leak in the apartment where Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania had died, Tbilgaz General Director David Morchiladze told the media.

“There were no gas leak,” he said. “It looks like there was a carbon dioxide accumulation in the apartment.”

A gas heater had been installed two days before and it is likely that the apartment had not been aired since then, Mr. Morchiladze added.

Initially, utility gas leakage had been cited as the cause of the death of the Georgian prime minister.

“The prime minister came to the apartment of a friend of his at about 12 o’clock,” Police and Public Security Minister Vano Merabishvili said. Later on, the premier’s guards tried to raise him on the phone but he would not pick up the receiver.

According to Mr. Merabishvili, the guards entered the apartment and found the bodies of Zurab Zhvania and his friend at about 4 a.m.

Mr. Merabishvili specified that Mr. Zhvania had been at his friend’s, Raoul Yusupov, deputy governor of the Kvemo Kartli region.

“This is an accident. I have been on the scene,” the minister emphasized. “There was an Iranian-made gas heater in a room. Probably, everything happened suddenly, because Zhvania remained seated in a chair and the body of his friend was found in the kitchen.”

Police has sealed off the area around the entrance to the building the tragedy took place in, with only the residents being allowed in.

Reporters are not allowed to the central hospital where the bodies have been taken. According to a doctor, hospital staff will not talk to the media until the postmortem has been completed.

“We were told that the president had ordered no contacts with the media,” the doctor said.

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