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Okruashvili was Forced to Leave Georgia – Opposition
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 1 Nov.'07 / 15:39

The authorities forced ex-defense minister, Irakli Okruashvili, to leave the country to prevent him from attending the November 2 protest rally, opposition leaders said on November 1.

Eka Beselia, an activist from the Movement for United Georgia – the party set up by Okruashvili before he was arrested – said that the ex-defense minister was planning to appear at the opposition-organized protest rally in Tbilisi on November 2.

“He was threatened to be again arrested and as a result forced to leave the country. He departed in direction of France. He was given a passport with visa issued by the French embassy,” Beselia, who acted as Okruashvili’s lawyer, said.

Beselia also said that at about 1 pm Tbilisi time, Okruashvili was in the Munich airport. It was not immediately clear whether Okruashvili planned to stay in Munich or he was going to France via Munich.

Okruashvili was released on bail on October 9 after he pleaded guilty to large-scale bribery through extortion and negligence while serving as minister and after retracting accusations against President Saakashvili that he was plotting to kill media tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili. He was released on bail and charges were not dropped from him.

The General Prosecutor’s Office has yet to comment on reported departure of Irakli Okruashvili. Beselia, however, alleged that officials were planning to explain Okruashvili’s departure with purpose of medical treatment.

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