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Georgian Supreme Court Upholds Ex-PM Merabishvili Conviction


Former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili attends a court session in Kutaisi in September 2013.

Georgia's Supreme Court has upheld a guilty verdict against former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili on charges that he ordered the beating of a lawmaker in 2005.

In September 2016 Merabishvili was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison on charges of ordering the beating of parliament member Valery Gelashvili.

Meabishvili was interior minister at the time Gelashvili was assaulted.

On November 1, the Supreme Court upheld a February decision of an appeals court that rejected Merabishvili's appeal against the conviction.

Merabishvili, a close ally of former President Mikheil Saakashvili and a key figure in Georgia's 2003 Rose Revolution, has been in prison since 2014.

He is serving a multiyear prison term for various convictions including abuse of office and bribing voters.

Saakashvili, who is currently in Ukraine, is being investigated separately in the Gelashvili case. Saakashvili has been charged by the authorities in Tbilisi with instructing Merabishvili to order the assault on Gelashvili.

He faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Supporters of Merabishvili and Saakashvili say the charges against them are politically motivated and amount to a "witch-hunt" by Georgia's current government.

In June 2016, the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights ruled that Merabishvili's detention violated the European Convention of Human Rights because the case was being used by Georgian officials for political motives.

With reporting by Interpressnews.ge
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