Ex-Defense, Interior Minister Released From Prison

Former Defense, Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaia was released from prison on March 1, after serving a nine-year sentence.

Speaking with reporters, the former United National Movement administration official said he “definitely” does not plan to return to politics. “That is not my business,” he added.

In brief remarks, Akhalaia also denied any wrongdoings, claiming he served the country “in good faith [and] honestly.”

Akhalaia became the Defense Minister in the aftermath of the Russo-Georgian war in 2008 and served until 2012, when he took office as the Interior Minister in a brief stint.

Following the power handover from the UNM to the Georgian Dream in 2012, he stood several trials, facing multiple charges and convictions.

In the latest, he was found guilty of organizing torture and sexual abuse of retired colonel Sergo Tetradze and sentenced to a nine-year prison term in 2014.

By the time of the ruling, Akhalaia had already been convicted for abuse of power and torture in two separate cases and sentenced to seven years and six months in jail.

Prior to that, in October 2013 he was also found guilty in a trial over inhuman treatment of inmates in the case related to the 2006 prison riot. But he received a pardon from then-President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Akhalaia was also acquitted on charges of exceeding official powers, illegal confinement and torture in four separate cases in 2013.

He was arrested in early November 2012.

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