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Ex-Georgian PM Merabishvili Sentenced To Five Years

Former Georgian Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili attends a court session in Kutaisi in September 2013.
Georgia's former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili has been sentenced to five years in prison.

A court in Georgia's western city of Kutaisi on February 17 found Merabishvili guilty of abuse of office, bribery of voters, and the inefficient use of budget funds.

Merabishvili rejected the charges, insisting that the case against him was politically motivated.

His lawyers said they would appeal the sentence.

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

Several associates of Saakashvili have been arrested and charged with wrongdoing since Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition won parliamentary elections in October 2013.

Based on reporting by and Interfax