Tbilisi City Court has cleared Georgian tennis star Nikoloz Basilashvili of physically abusing his ex-wife, following a two-year trial.
The tennis player was charged with three counts of violence against his ex-wife, model Neli Dorokashvili. A fourth charge of committing violence by a group of people related to an incident involving Basilashvili and his father.
Dorokashvili testified that Basilashvili had systematically abused her while they lived together, both physically and verbally, and that he limited her ability to work and took control of her finances and social media accounts. Dorokashvili also accused her ex-husband’s parents of verbally abusing her. Basilashvili’s defence denied all allegations against him.
Basilashvili hailed the verdict, stating that a ‘fair decision’ was made.
‘All these false accusations were very difficult for me to bear, and I am very glad that it’s all over. The priority for me now is to restore my relationship with my child.’
Clearing Basilashvili of all charges, Judge Khatuna Kharchilava questioned why Dorokashvili had not come forward to police earlier.
Referring to a bruise confirmed by a medical examination on Dorokashvili’s arm following Basilashvili’s arrest in 2020, the judge said this could have occurred because she was holding her child in an awkward position, or when Basilashvili handed her the child.
The prosecutor on the case, Tamuna Guruli, vowed to appeal the verdict.
Dorokashvili’s lawyer, Ana Abashidze, slammed the judge as ‘incompetent and biased’, accusing her of being a part of a system that failed to protect women’s lives.
‘The judge herself — sensitivity 0. Responsibility — 0. Knowledge — 0. Objectivity — 0.’
‘The biased system revealed itself once again today and threw another woman to the scaffold.’
Basilashvili was arrested on 21 May 2020 after allegedly attacking Dorokashvili in the presence of their son. He was released three days later on ₾100,000 ($36,000) bail.
[Read on OC Media: Georgian tennis star Nikoloz Basilashvili charged with attacking ex-wife]
According to RFE/RL, Dorokashvili and Basilashvili were no longer living together at that time and had divided the days they spent with their son. Prosecutors said Basilashvili attacked Dorokashvili after she came to his house to pick up their son.
Dorokashvili also accused Basilashvili’s father of shouting abuse at her at the same time.
Both Basilashvili and his family denied the prosecutor’s version of events.
Basilashvili attended the trial remotely until 5 October. His closing statement was also closed to the media and public at the request of his lawyers.
Basilashvili himself remained tight-lipped during the two-year trial. But before the verdict on Friday, he told TV Imedi, that the trail’s openness violated the rights of his son.
‘I said at the beginning that the sessions should be closed to protect the interests of my son’, he said.
Dorokashvili married Basilashvili, who is ranked first in Georgia and 93rd globally, in 2014. The couple had a child the following year and officially divorced in 2018.