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Additional Charges Filed Against Former Georgian Prime Minister

Former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili
Former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili
TBILISI -- New charges have been filed against Georgia's former prime minister.

The Prosecutor-General's Office announced that Ivane Merabishvili was charged with exceeding his powers during a rally in downtown Tbilisi in May 2011.

Merabishvili, who is secretary-general of President Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement (ENM), was arrested last week and charged with abuse of power, embezzlement, and bribing of voters.

On May 28, Merabishvili's supporters rallied in several towns demanding his immediate release, while the ENM group in parliament boycotted the parliamentary session.

Several associates of Saakashvili have been arrested and charged with wrongdoings since Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition won parliamentary elections in October.

Western officials have called on Ivanishvili's government to refrain from politically motivated trials.

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