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Georgian Authorities Charge Journalist


Malkhaz Gulashvili has fled Georgia and was charged in absentia.

Malkhaz Gulashvili has fled Georgia and was charged in absentia.

The Georgian authorities have filed charges in absentia against journalist Malkhaz Gulashvili.

Gulashvili is the founder of the Georgia Times Media Holding company and leader of the People's Orthodox Movement.

He fled Georgia a month ago after breaking in to the offices of the Kavkasia Television Company, which resulted in the arrest of several members of Gulashvili's movement for assaulting journalists.

Gulashvili and his son fled first to Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia and then to Moscow.

He was charged today with illegally crossing the border between Georgia and South Ossetia, and could face up to five years in prison if found guilty.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili closed that border after the military conflict between Georgia and Russia in August 2008.

Gulashvili has openly accused Saakashvili of "persecuting Orthodox values and promoting the interests of reactionary forces in the West." He also supports the idea of normalizing relations between Georgia and Russia.

Gulashvili says the case against him is politically motivated.

RFE/RL’s Georgian Service contributed to this report. With agency reports
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