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(RFE/RL) 8 December 2005 -- In Tbilisi today, FBI officers testified at the trial of a man accused of throwing a hand grenade at the presidents of the United States and Georgia , George W. Bush and Mikheil Saakashvili, during a 10 May public appearance in Tbilisi.

Georgian State Prosecutor Anzor Kvariani said the six U.S. agents explained why they believed the exploding device did not go off. He gave no further details.

The defendant is a 27-year-old ethnic Armenian resident of Tbilisi. Vladimir Arutyunian was arrested in July following a shoot-out that left one Georgian policeman dead.

Georgian authorities have released police videos showing Arutyunian purportedly confessing to throwing the grenade with a view to harming Bush. But Arutyunian has so far refused to testify at his trial, saying he would do so only in the presence of Western human rights campaigners.

The defendant faces life imprisonment.

("Novosti Gruziya"/Rustavi-2)
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