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Jailed Son Of Former Georgian President On Hunger Strike

Tsotne Gamsakhurdia

Tsotne Gamsakhurdia

TBILISI -- The jailed son of late Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia has begun a hunger strike to demand his release from jail, RFE/RL's Georgian Service reports.

It is the second hunger strike by Tsotne Gamsakhurdia since his arrest in October for allegedly shooting and injuring his neighbor with a pistol. He was recently sentenced to nine years in jail for attempted murder in that case.

But he and his mother, Manana Archvadze-Gamsakhurdia, say the incident was staged by the secret services.

In February, Archvadze-Gamsakhurdia and her supporters tried to dig up the remains of her husband to protest the charges against her son.

Supporters of Zviad Gamsakhurdia and his family have been staging regular protests in front of the parliament building calling for Tsotne's release. But Georgian officials say his verdict can only be changed by a court decision.

Zviad Gamsakhurdia became the first democratically elected president of Georgia in 1991. He died under mysterious circumstances on December 31, 1993, at the age of 54 in the Zugdidi region during an unsuccessful attempt to reestablish control over the country.