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Saakashvili Ally Cleared Of Several Charges

Former Georgian Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia
A Georgian court has acquitted Bacho Akhalaia, an ally of President Mikheil Saakashvili, of charges of abuse of office, illegal imprisonment, and torture when he served as defense minister.

Several co-defendants, including former army chief of staff Giorgi Kalandadze, were also acquitted on August 1.

Akhalaia will remain in custody because he faces a number of similar charges in two separate cases.

Akhalaia was arrested in November 2012.

He was one of a number of Saakashvili allies to face legal proceedings after the president's United National Movement party lost the October 2012 parliamentary election to Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition.

Akhalaia still faces charges of abuse of office and torture when he served as interior minister in 2012, and earlier, as chief of the prison system.

Akhalaia has denied all the accusations.

Based on reporting by Interfax and