The case of a Georgian man serving life for an alleged 2005 assassination attempt against former US President George W. Bush in Tbilisi will not be reconsidered, despite pleas from the convict’s mother.
“My son is a political prisoner [and] an illegal prisoner,” Anzhela Arutinian told a February 28 press conference. “They have to give me back my boy. I am all alone. I have no one in this world.“
In family-centric Georgia, such an appeal can carry a certain weight, but, apparently, not with the Ministry of Justice, which, according to the TV station Maestro, said there were no grounds to reconsider the case.
Thirty-four-year-old Vladimer (Vova) Arutinian was convicted in 2006 for allegedly throwing a hand grenade into a crowd that had gathered in downtown Tbilisi's Freedom Square to see President Bush during his May 2005 visit to Georgia. The visit almost turned into a national celebration, with Bush calling the country a "beacon of democracy" and dancing on stage.
Georgian officials initially believed that Arutinian’s grenade was a dud, but later said that it simply failed to detonate. Wrapped in a piece of cloth, the grenade allegedly hit one person in the crowd before landing some 30 meters away from Bush, Georgian police said. Police later raided Arutinian’s apartment in a poor Tbilisi suburb. In the ensuing shootout, one policeman died and Arutinian was wounded.
Arutinian's mother recently asked the Georgian government to qualify her son as a political prisoner, but, in her words, the appeal went nowhere. After Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili took over from President Mikheil Saakashvili as Georgia’s leader, scores of Saakashvili-era detainees have been declared political prisoners and released from jails. Many were pardoned by the state. Arutinian was not one of them.
Nonetheless, his mother's fight goes on. “Vova is not a terrorist,” she claimed, Netgazeti.ge reported. “Vova did not sell Georgia to America or Russia.”