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Former Georgian Lawmaker Arrested On Coup Plot Charges

Former Georgian parliamentarian Valeri Gelbakhiani
Former Georgian parliamentarian Valeri Gelbakhiani
TBILISI – Georgia's Interior Ministry says a former lawmaker has been arrested on charges of plotting a coup amid a political crisis in the country some four years ago.

Valery Gelbakhiani was accused of seeking to overthrow the government by force following the 2008 presidential polls, which saw pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili win his second term in office.

Ahead of the polls, police released secretly filmed footage, which shows Gelbakhiani allegedly discussing a plot to provoke mass unrest after the elections.

As a former opposition parliamentary deputy, Gelbakhiani was a close ally of the tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili, who had unsuccessfully run to unseat Saakashvili.

Gelbakhiani fled the country but he was detained on February 20 while trying to enter Georgia from Armenia.

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