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Former Georgian Defense Minister Released On Bail

Former Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili
TBILISI -- An appeals court in Tbilisi has released former Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili on bail.

The decision on January 11 was made one day after an 11-year prison sentence imposed on Okruashvili was overturned.

He received the sentence in 2008 after being tried in absentia and convicted on a bribery charge.

Okruashvili left Georgia in 2007 to avoid the trial.

He was arrested last November when he arrived in Tbilisi after spending five years in Europe.

On January 8, the Georgian Prosecutor-General's Office announced that recently filed charges of abuse of office and illegal business activities had been dropped.

Okruashvili still faces two other charges -- the formation of an illegal armed group and negligence.

He returned to Georgia days after the country's new government launched investigations against a number of former Interior Ministry officials.

With reporting by Interfax