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Son Of Late Georgian Leader Ends Hunger Strike

Tsotne Gamsakhurdia in March 2007
TBILISI -- A son of former Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia has ended his hunger strike at the request of the patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, RFE/RL's Echo of the Caucasus reports.

Tsotne Gamsakhurdia's lawyer, Keti Bekauri, said her client has been on a hunger strike since November, drinking only fluids during this time. Bekauri said he had been hospitalized during this time because of bad health.

His lawyer added that her client decided to end the strike today only after being asked to do so by Patriarch Ilia II.

Tsotne Gamsakhurdia was arrested on October 27 and accused of shooting and wounding his neighbor, David Bazhelidze. He was also charged in late January with cooperating with Russia secret services.

Meanwhile, the Tbilisi city court today resumed hearings in Tsotne Gamsakhurdia's case. He and his supporters say the charges against him are politically motivated.

Zviad Gamsakhurdia was the first democratically elected president of Georgia in 1991. He died in mysterious circumstances on December 31, 1993, at the age of 54.

Tsotne Gamsakhurdia is the half-brother of Tavisupleba (Liberty) party leader Konstantine Gamsakhurdia.