About Civil.ge
Eng | Geo | Rus
Last updated: 23:57 - 19 Sep.'14
 
RSS
Mobile
Twitter
Facebook
Okruashvili Arrested After Return to Georgia
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 20 Nov.'12 / 13:24

Irakli Okruashvili, former defense minister who was in exile since late 2007 and who faces multiple criminal charges in Georgia, was arrested upon arrival in the Tbilisi airport, the Georgian Interior Ministry said on November 20.

Okruashvili, who was one of the most influential government members and President Saakashvili’s close ally before quitting the cabinet in November 2006, was arrested just two days after he leveled serious allegations against President Saakashvili and announced about setting up of an opposition party in late September, 2007.

At that time he was charged with large scale extortion; less than two weeks after he was arrested, Okruashvili pleaded guilty, retracted his allegations leveled against Saakashvili and was released on bail; he then left the country in what his supporters said was expulsion by the authorities.

In March, 2008 court in Georgia found Okruashvili guilty of “large-scale extortion” and sentenced him to 11 years in prison in absentia; a month later Okruashvili was granted asylum in France.

While remaining in France, Okruashvili re-emerged actively in Georgia’s political developments in spring 2011 when his party joined briefly ex-parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze-backed street protest rallies but the alliance was short-lived. At the time the authorities filed new charges against Okruashvili related to alleged armed group.

Hours before Okruashvili’s arrival to Georgia, the parliamentary committee for human rights passed a draft resolution recognizing 184 persons as “political prisoners” and 22 others as being “in political exile”; Okruashvili is among those 22 persons. The draft resolution, after it will be passed by the parliament, will allow those in the list to return back to Georgia without being arrested and to prove their case before the court.

Georgian Justice Minister, Tea Tsulukiani, said on November 20, that she shared the view that Okruashvili “was subjected to politically-motivated persecution by the [previous] authorities.”

“But it does not automatically mean that he is innocent in those criminal charges that he may face; it requires investigation,” Tsulukiani told journalists. “There are number of criminal charges brought against him and the most recent one is related to setting up of illegal armed groups and that is related to the events of May, 2011 [during street protest rallies]. It requires further probe and I think that Okruashvili returned in order to prove his truth.”

Court hearing into Okruashvili’s case related to alleged illegal armed group is scheduled for late afternoon on November 20.

Okruashvili told Georgian news agency, InterPressNews, whose reporter visited ex-defense minister in prison facility on November 20, that although knowing that he would be arrested, he still returned in order to prove his innocence in the court. He said that all the charges against him were fabricated by the previous authorities.

Latest News
19 Sep.'14 23:57
Saakashvili’s Property Impounded
"Very good if it has been impounded," PM Garibashvili said.
19 Sep.'14 13:39
U.S. Senate Committee Backs Major Non-NATO Ally Status for Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine
Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed bill envisaging granting this status to the three countries.
18 Sep.'14 21:31
Sokhumi Wants Change of Format and Agenda of Geneva Talks
Breakaway Abkhazia’s FM says Sokhumi strongly against discussing issue of refugees at Geneva talks.
17 Sep.'14 22:49
Bill to Delay Full Application of Jury Trial System
Govt-proposed bill to postpone expanding of now limited application of the system for two years.
16 Sep.'14 18:58
Tbilisi Rejects Crimea Elections
“Georgia reiterates its clear support to the Ukrainian sovereignty, territorial integrity,” Georgian MFA said.
16 Sep.'14 14:10
Top NATO Commander Praises Georgia's Interoperability with the Alliance
Gen. Breedlove said the Georgian forces have done “an extremely good job” in this regard.
16 Sep.'14 11:29
Georgian PM Visits United Arab Emirates
PM Garibashvili is visiting Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah on September 16-17.
16 Sep.'14 02:39
Ivanishvili on Reshuffled Govt, President, Media, His Plans and Ukraine
Ex-PM said in a lengthy newspaper interview that he will become more active in public life.
15 Sep.'14 22:24
Vatican's Foreign Minister Visits Georgia
This is the first visit of Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States in Georgia in 11 years.
15 Sep.'14 15:36
PM: State Department's Statement on Investigations against Opposition Figures 'Not Alarming'
“We are maximally transparent,” Garibashvili told journalists on September 15.

About Civil Georgia
Civil.Ge © 2001-2013, Daily News Online
Registered office: 2 Dolidze Str, 4-th Floor.
46