Belavia plane 'hijacker' reveals his version
It has been over one month since Gergian national Gela Sapkelashvili was detained at the Minsk international airport after sending his hijacking note to the captain of a Minsk-bound flight operated by Belavia. However, neither his relatives nor Georgian diplomats have seen the defendant since then.
“We have not visited his yet, because we are yet to receive an official permit," says Anzor Meladze, First Secretary of Gerogian Embassy in Minsk. "An experts' commission will gather at the end of the month to determine Gela Sakhelashvili's mental state.”
Only the Belarusian lawyer was able to meet with the defendant. He also passed some details of his conversation to the Georgian's wife.
“The lawyer said there is no hard evidence ," Inga Tvaradze, a relative of Gela Sahelashvili, retells Euroradio her conversation with the defense lawyer. Talking to Inga is not easy, as she hardly knows Russian or English. "He was in a mental clinic. The note that was passed to the pilot was written by someone else, according to what Gela said. He was totally drunk and does not remember anything.Gela also said he was missing his family and relatives a lot."
On June 10, Aliaksandr Bukreyeu, the captain of Kutaisi-Minsk flight operated by Belavia Belarusian Airlines received a note. The pilot told Euroradio that "it was written in Latin letters in English" ordering the plane to change course and fly to western Europe.
The plane, however, landed at the Minsk International Airport where anti-terror commandos led drunk Gela out of the plans, carrying no weapons or dumb explosive devices. The captain also said that the passengers aboard the plane knew nothing about the potential threat.
Gela Sakhelashvili is charged with attempted hikacking of a plane. He is facing up to seven years in prison.
Gela has no previous convictions. He was flying to Minsk to find a job at a construction project and earn some money for treatments of his sick wife and daughter. That's what Euroradio was told by his Georgian family. As Gela has no university educational background, it seems unlikely that he could write a hijacking note demanding in proper English to fly to Rome. In the view of Georgian diplomats, their compatriot drank too much and came up with a bad joke. But he was not understood.
“Investigation is in progress. Several expertises are being carried out in this criminal case," Siarhei Kabakovich, a spokesman for Investigations Commitee tells Euroradio.
When asked why Georgian diplomats have been unable to meet their compatriot, Kabakovich noted that the Investigations Committee was ready to allow such a meeting.