July 21, 2005
Man ‘confesses’ to grenade attack during Bush visit
TBILISI (Reuters) - A man arrested in Georgia has confessed
to throwing a grenade during a speech by visiting President
Bush in May, authorities said on Thursday.
U.S. officials said at the time the grenade only failed to
explode because of a malfunction and landed within 30 meters
(100 feet) of Bush as he spoke to tens of thousands of people
in Tbilisi's Freedom Square.
Thursday showing the suspect, identified only as Arutunyan,
Asked by an official whether he threw the grenade,
Arutunyan, who looked calm, replied: "Yes."
Deputy health minister Irakly Giorgobiani said: "Doctors,
who talked to (him) yesterday, said that he had confessed that
he had thrown a grenade. But they also said that he may not
have been in control of himself at the time."
Georgian police detained the man on Wednesday after a
special operation in which an anti-terrorism officer was killed
and the suspect wounded.
Giorgobiani told Rustavi-2 TV the suspect's condition was
now normal and there was no threat to his life.
Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili told a briefing the
investigation was continuing and that a reward of about $83,000
would be split between several people who helped the
The security scare marred Bush's trip to Georgia, intended
to show U.S. support for the West-leaning government that came
to power after a democratic revolution 20 months ago.
Officials said the grenade could have caused major injuries
in the close-packed crowd, the largest gathering of people on
the square since the "Rose Revolution" led by now-President
The U.S. Embassy in Georgia said in a statement on Thursday
that co-operation on the case was "a model" for joint work by
law-enforcement agencies of the two countries.