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Monday, 25 February, 2002, 14:46 GMT
Georgia security boss 'commits suicide'
Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze
Shevardnadze was a close ally of dead security chief
The national security chief in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia has died, after apparently shooting himself in the head.

Nugzar Sadjaya was found in his office in the capital, Tblisi, on Monday morning, suffering from gunshot wounds.

He had shot himself with his own pistol, said Interior Ministry spokeswoman Maya Mosidze. He was said to have two gunshot wounds to the head.

A suicide prompted by moral terror

President Eduard Shevardnadze
His death comes only a week after he was publicly accused of involvement in the death of former Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia.

Officials reported that Mr Sadjaya had been reading newspaper accounts of his alleged involvement before the gunshot was heard.

His supporters, who include President Eduard Shevardnadze, said he had been the victim of a smear campaign.

As news of his death emerged, police closed the streets around the hospital and his office.

The claim that Mr Sadjaya was implicated in the death of Mr Gamsakhurdia came last week, and was met with a strong denial and a threat of legal action for slander.

'Not responsible'

An opposition member of parliament, Boris Kakubava, said Mr Sadjaya and another man had organised the murder of Mr Gamsakhurdia and other men.

Mr Shevardnadze said the death of his intelligence chief was "a suicide prompted by moral terror".

But Mr Kakubava said he did not feel responsible for Mr Sadjaya's apparent suicide.

An inquiry into the death has been launched, and forensic experts were said to be examining the office where the shooting occurred.

See also:

08 Nov 01 | Europe
Anger simmers in Georgia
02 Nov 01 | Europe
Shevardnadze: Rise and decline
10 Apr 00 | Europe
Shevardnadze faces massive task
30 Jul 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Georgia
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