Investigator Jailed over Teen Suicide Case Released on Parole

Mariana Choloiani, the police investigator jailed in September 2020 for a 3-year term over the suicide case of a teenager, was released on parole less than a year after her sentencing.

The decision of her early release was made by a local council, a subagency of the Special Penitentiary Service of Georgia mandated with reviewing motions of inmates on parole and commutation of sentences.

Choloiani was probed after 15-year-old Luka Siradze jumped to his death in December 2019, following the police inquest concerning breaking-and-entering and putting up an offensive graffiti at one of the private schools in Tbilisi. The teenager died in a hospital days later.

Preceded by public backlash over the connection of attempted suicide with police interrogation, the case was taken over by the State Inspector’s Office, the body authorized with investigating crimes committed by the police and public officials.

The investigation led to the detention of Choloiani, who oversaw the questioning of the teenager on the night of December 10-11. She was sentenced to three years in prison for extorting the confession from a witness. She was also banned from working in law enforcement bodies for the additional 2 years.

The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), a local CSO, called the news about Choloiani’s early release a “drastic surprise” for both the organization and the Siradze family it represents. GYLA recalled that the case is still pending in the Court of Appeals with a chance of a harsher sentence, while the State Inspector’s Office continues investigations into possible crimes committed by other police officers in the case.

“While numerous unanswered questions remain in Luka Siradze’s case and the family awaits thorough, fair investigation, the release of the convicted investigator sows distrust towards the processes,” the CSO said today, adding that such developments raise perceptions of state institutions tolerating the crime committed by law enforcers “resulting in the biggest tragedy.”

According to GYLA, the release of Choloiani on parole raises a “sense of injustice” and causes “fair criticism” since the application of the parole procedure in Georgia is “as a rule” unfounded, protracted, and fails to consider individual circumstances.

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