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Georgian Military Brass Accused Of Misuse Of State Funds

The Georgian prosecutor's office says five current and former senior military officials have been arrested on suspicion of misusing of state funds.

In a statement on October 28, the prosecutor's office said that the Defense Ministry and armed forces General Staff officials -- four current and one former -- are suspected of misspending more than $2.3 million.

The suspects, whose names were not made public, are accused of arranging a sham tender last year for laying fiber optic cable and procuring equipment.

The United States has urged Georgian authorities to avoid using the courts as a political lever since an opposition coalition defeated then-President Mikheil Saakashvili's long-ruling party in a 2012 parliamentary election.

Last week, U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki stressed "the importance of due process and rule of law and of conducting investigations with transparency to avoid even the perception that the judicial system is being used for political retribution."

With reporting by