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Lawyer For Former Georgian Defense Minister Arrested

  • RFE/RL's Georgian Service

Georgian lawyer Georgi Oniani

Georgian lawyer Georgi Oniani

TBILISI -- The lawyer for former Georgian Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia has been arrested.

Georgia's Prosecutor-General's Office said on February 24 that Giorgi Oniani is suspected of fabricating evidence and of illegally detaining a man in 2011 while he was deputy chief of a district police force in Tbilisi.

Oniani said that his arrest is politically motivated.

His client, Akhalaia -- who is also the former chief of the country's penitentiary system -- was arrested in 2012 on abuse-of-power charges.

In October, Akhalaia was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for using excessive force in suppressing a 2006 prison riot in which seven inmates were killed.

Former President Mikheil Saakashvili pardoned Akhalaia for that conviction before leaving office in November.

Several trials into other charges against Akhalaia are still pending.

With reporting by