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Former Georgian PM Merabishvili Sentenced, Again

Former Georgian Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili, at a court hearing in Kutaisi last year, says the charges are politically motivated.
Georgia's former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili has received another jail sentence, this one for 4 1/2 years.

A court in the western city of Kutaisi on February 27 found Merabishvili guilty of exceeding his official powers in a case related to the dispersal of protesters in 2011.

Earlier this month, Merabishvili was sentenced to five years in jail for abuse of office, bribery of voters, and inefficient use of budget funds.

Charges against him in other cases are pending.

Merabishvili says the charges are politically motivated because of his links to former President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Merabishvili, who is secretary-general of Saakashvili's United National Movement party, was arrested in May 2013.

Several associates of Saakashvili have been arrested and charged with wrongdoing since the former opposition Georgian Dream coalition won parliamentary elections in 2012.

Based on reporting by and Interfax