Evidence in case of Georgian programmer death possibly falsified, family demands re-investigation
Case of Tamar Bachaliashvili
Sergo Shubitidze, a former investigator in the case of Tamar Bachaliashvili, a programmer who died in 2020, says he does not believe the official theory of suicide. In an interview with Formula TV, he said that there were many suspicious circumstances and previously unknown details in this case and it may have been falsified. Tamar Bachaliashvili’s mother Teona Tamazashvili believes that her daughter was murdered and demands that a new investigation be launched.
On July 22, 2020, after a five-day search in the Tetritskaro forest, 23-year-old programmer Tamar Bachaliashvili was found dead in her car. She had left home on the morning of July 18 and had not been in touch with her relatives since. From the very beginning, the family denied the possibility of suicide.
From the first day Tamar disappeared, her family demanded that the investigators check her computer. One of the investigators told the family that Tamar’s personal computer had a complex password and specialists could not hack it.
On December 17 of the same year, the prosecutor’s office closed the case and announced that Bachaliashvili had committed suicide.
Tamar was a student at the French-Georgian School of Informatics at TSU. A successful student, she won an Erasmus+ scholarship and studied computer science in France for two semesters.
Tamar worked at ZEG LLC, a software company with a five-year history that mainly worked on orders from other countries, but after her death, the company was closed and its website disappeared.
A former investigator talks about several important circumstances, specifically her phone. Sergo Shubitidze took Bachaliashvili’s phone and then checked the information stored in it. He says the first red flag was when assistant detective Elgudzhi Apuashvili came to visit him in his office early on in the investigation:
“Apuashvili asked me to seal the phone, to which I replied that it was wrong and that the device should have been sealed at the scene. But the phone was not sealed. When I made a complaint, he told me that I could call management about this. I sealed the phone and returned it to him. The phone was switched off at the time. Perhaps before the phone was brought to me, it had been hacked”.
Shubitidze claims that he removed the seal from the phone on the second or third day on the basis of protocol and began to look through the device.
According to the investigator, a few days later, when he checked Whatsapp and Viber, there were no messages other than advertisements from banks and pharmacies.
“I was very surprised, because a girl working in such a place should have had some kind of communication going on. Elgudzhi Apuashvili should not have had this phone,” Shubitidze says.
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According to Formula, Shubitidze was in charge of the case for about two weeks before the investigation was transferred to the Tbilisi bureau. Shubitidze says that all investigators were sent a pre-written questionnaire from the prosecutor’s office and told to use it for their interrogations.
The former investigator also considers the condition of Bachaliashvili’s body suspicious. He believes the body may have laid on the ground for some time before it was found in the car.
“The body was in a badly damaged condition. There were versions that a fly had flown into the car, hence the large number of maggots on the body. But I support the theory that [the state of the body was the result] of it being lain on the ground.”
According to Tamar’s mother, everything was deleted from her daughter’s phone, including her own calls and messages.
“I request that a new investigation be initiated. The evidence is more than enough. If not, then this directly indicates that the investigation has shielded the killers and falsified everything,” Tamazashvili said.