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Acting President Pardons Opposition Politician

Irakli Batiashvili, an opposition politician, was released from jail on January 11 after being pardoned by acting President Nino Burjanadze.

In May 2006 Tbilisi City Court found Batiashvili guilty of providing ?intellectual assistance,? essentially providing advice, to a rebel warlord, Emzar Kvitsiani, and sentenced him to seven years? imprisonment. On September 13 the Court of Appeals upheld the seven-year prison sentence imposed on Batiashvili. 

Batiashvili, who at the time was a member of an opposition party, Forward Georgia, served as Georgia?s security chief in the early 1990s. He was arrested on July 29, 2006 ? a few days after government forces cracked down on Kvitsiani?s militias in upper Kodori Gorge in breakaway Abkhazia.

Batiashvili denied the charges and claimed they were politically motivated ? a view widely shared by other opposition parties and some human rights groups. The Georgian Public Defender?s Office said after studying the case in August that the court verdict against Batiashvili was ?unjustified? and was made on the basis of insufficient evidence.

Batiashvili’s release was one of four demands made by the opposition coalition during the November protest rallies.

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


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