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Former Pro-Georgian South Ossetian Official In Custody

TSKHINVALI, Georgia -- The former economics minister of the pro-Georgian Provisional Administration of South Ossetia remains in detention in the breakaway republic's capital, Tskhinvali, RFE/RL's Echo of the Caucasus reports.

South Ossetian police investigator Viktor Bibilov told the website that Teymuraz Jerapov was detained on April 22 after illegally crossing the boundary between South Ossetia and Georgia proper.

Jerapov has been charged by South Ossetian authorities with treason and with illegally crossing the internal border. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to 12-20 years in prison.

Jerapov's daughter, Tamara, told RFE/RL that her father might have been on a trip involving the nongovernmental organization Caucasus Business and Development Network, which is based in Kutaisi.

But Caucasus Business and Development Network head Alu Gamakharia said Jerapov went to South Ossetia on his own initiative, not theirs.

Jerapov's brother, Murad Jerapov, told RFE/RL that his brother had no intention of leaving Tbilisi.

Jerapov had been wanted in South Ossetia for his participation in the Georgian-organized alternative presidential ballot in November 2006.