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Opposition Slams Saakashvili’s Response to Okruashvili Arrest

Opposition leaders said President Saakashvili’s response to ex-Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili’s accusations and subsequent arrest was inappropriate.

“The president refused to answer the questions which all of us have been putting to him for the last three years,” Tina Khidasheli of the opposition Republican Party said. “The questions are simple: in Georgia nobody believes in the official version of Zurab Zhvania’s death; nobody believes in the official version of Sandro Girgvliani’s death.”

She read out a statement issued on behalf of the opposition parties which set up a special committee on September 29 to organize protest rallies throughout Georgia against the continued detention of Irakli Okruashvili.

“The President of Georgia told us today that freedom of speech is guaranteed in the country,” Khidasheli said. “Irakli Okruashvili, however, has been jailed just because he decided to give answers to those questions which have been hanging in the air for three years. He was deprived of the right to tell the truth, he was deprived of his right to free speech.”

The committee includes at least eight opposition parties: Republican Party, Conservative Party, Movement for United Georgia (which was set up by Okruashvili just before his arrest), Freedom Party, Labor Party, Party of People, Georgian Troupe, Georgia’s way. Goga Khaindrava, ex-State Minister and now an activist from the human rights group Equality Institute, is also a member of the committee.

The New Rights opposition party has refused to participate. The Industrialist Party is still hedging its bets.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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