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Wednesday, April 23, 2014  

Georgia arrests ex-defence chiefs over ‘power abuses’
TBILISI Georgia has arrested its ex-defence minister and top general in the first major case of alleged power abuses under President Mikheil Saakashvili’s recently ousted government, officials said on Wednesday.

Former defence minister Bacho Akhalaia and current army chief of staff Giorgi Kalandadze were detained as part of an investigation into the physical and verbal abuse of servicemen, the ex-Soviet state’s chief prosecutor said.

“An investigation is under way by the office of the chief prosecutor of Georgia into a criminal case over the misuse of office by defence ministry officials,” prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili said in televised comments.

Kbilashvili said that in October 2011 the accused had insulted and hit six soldiers at Akhalaia’s defence ministry office and then verbally and physically abused them again at an army base near Tbilisi.

A lawyer for the men rejected the allegations as false but said he expected charges to be filed within days.

“The reason for launching the investigation is obviously absurd,” the lawyer, David Dekanoidze, told Georgian media.

The arrests came after billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili’s new government took office following its defeat of Saakashvili’s party at parliamentary polls last month.

Agence France-Presse
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