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Georgian Ex-Defense Minister Sentenced To Prison For Torture

  • RFE/RL's Georgian Service

Former Georgian Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia (file photo)

Former Georgian Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia (file photo)

A Georgian court has sentenced former Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia to 7 1/2 years in prison for torturing convicts in 2006.

The Tbilisi City Court also gave prison sentences to former high-ranking Interior Ministry officials Giorgi Mazmishvili, and brothers Levan and Megis Kardava, the latter of whom was tried in absentia.

Levan Kardava and Mazmishvili were found guilty of the killings of three people who were suspected of planning a prison escape for their relatives and given 11-year terms.

Akhalaia, who served as chief of Georgia's penitentiary system at the time of the murders and has also served as interior minister, was accused with Megis Kardava of torturing the convicts whose relatives were purportedly going to help them escape.

Akhalaia, 34, is already in jail and has been charged with offenses in several other criminal cases.

He has rejected the charges.

With reporting by Interfax