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Police Say Seized Okruashvili-Affiliated Armed Group
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 23 Jun.'11 / 13:39

The Interior Ministry said on June 23, that its counter-intelligence service arrested a group of men affiliated with the opposition Georgian Party and charged them with formation of illegal armed group, allegedly intending to provide military back-up to the return of ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili back to Georgia during the street protest rallies in late May.

The Georgian Party, whose one of the co-leaders Irakli Okruashvili said last month would return to Georgia but latter dropped this plan, announced on June 22 that the police arrested its activist Levan Terashvili, his brother and two other activists of the Georgian Party. Sozar Subari, the chairman of the Georgian Party, said that police “planted” weapons in the house of Terashvili.

Following that announcement, the Interior Ministry released on June 22 a brief statement saying that it would provide information about “plans the party members intended to carry out in late May” on June 23.

On June 23, the Interior Ministry released video testimonies by several of eight arrested men in which they say that they were told by Okruashvili’s affiliate, Malkhaz Kakashvili, who remains at large, that the ex-defense minister was intending to arrive in Georgia via breakaway South Ossetia with 200 Russian militaries, which planned attacks on Georgian police checkpoints across the South Ossetian administrative border and a base of the Georgian police special task force. They say in the recorded testimony that Kakashvili had a meeting with Okruashvili to discuss the plan in Vladikavkaz, Russia’s North Ossetian Republic. Several detainees also said in their recorded testimony that on May 22-23 some of them were based in the village of Jariasheni, less than twenty kilometers away from the town of Gori and not far from the South Ossetian administrative border, waiting for Okruashvili to arrive, but had to leave the place after the Georgian police intensified patrolling of the area.

The Interior Ministry has also released footage showing, what it called, seized weapons, involving Kalashnikov assault rifles, explosives, hand-grenades and shoulder-held missile launchers. 

The Georgian Party said that the allegation "is fiction" and "fabrication."

Ex-defense minister and co-founder of the Georgian Party, Irakli Okruashvili, said on May 22 that he planned to arrive in Georgia “to put an end to Saakashvili’s regime” and to take part in “the Day of Rage” which his party planned for May 25. Two days later, the Georgian Party, however, dropped the plans to rally and said Okruashvili, who has political asylum in France, was no longer intending to return back to Georgia.

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