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Ex-Police Official Turned Lawyer Arrested
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 24 Feb.'14 / 12:43

Giorgi (Goga) Oniani, a former police official and now defense attorney representing detained ex-defense minister and former prison system chief Bacho Akhalaia, was arrested late on Sunday evening.

Prosecutor’s Office said that Oniani was arrested for allegedly fabricating evidence and illegally detaining a man in late 2011 when he served as deputy chief of police in Gldani-Nadzaladevi district of Tbilisi. Prosecutors claim that Oniani fabricated case against the man because the latter’s company was producing t-shirts with Georgian Dream logo.

When police officers were escorting Oniani to a police vehicle, he told Rustavi 2 TV that his arrest was “definitely” politically motivated because he was going to run for a majoritarian seat in Tbilisi City Council (Sakrebulo) in June local elections. He said that when the authorities learned about it his former subordinates in the police were interrogated and pressured by prosecutors to give false testimony against him.

UNM opposition party said in a statement that Oniani’s arrest is related to “successful” defense of his high-profile client Bacho Akhalaia in number of court proceedings; Akhalaia was acquitted in two trials and found guilty in the third one; several trials into some other charges against Akhalaia, who remains in pretrial detention since November, 2012, are still pending.

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