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Saakashvili Vetoes Georgian Amnesty Bill

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili
President Mikheil Saakashvili has vetoed a bill passed by his opponents in parliament to free more than 3,000 prisoners from Georgia’s jails.

Saakashvili on December 27 ridiculed the decision by lawmakers to define around 200 of the inmates as political prisoners jailed by his government, saying the move makes Georgia look like a dictatorship and is not serious.

Saakashvili also said inmates listed for pardon include pedophiles, people convicted of spying for Russia, and military officers charged with treason.

Critics say some of detainees were victims of political persecution by pro-Saakashvili officials.

Eighty-nine votes would be needed to override Saakashvili’s veto, and reports suggest the Georgian Dream coalition could muster that number.

Saakashvili’s party was defeated by Georgian Dream, led by current Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, in the October 1 elections following a campaign that saw each accuse the other of antidemocratic tendencies.

Based on reporting from Reuters and