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Georgian Interior Ministry Officials Ordered To Stay In Detention

TBILISI -- A city court in Tbilisi has ordered that 10 Interior Ministry officials detained on November 15 must remain in police custody pending trial on abuse-of-office charges.

The 10 detainees, who include a 19-year-old computer programmer, are suspected of engaging in illegal wiretapping and kidnapping meant to destabilize billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili before the parliamentary elections that led to his appointment as prime minister last month.

The detentions follow the arrest of a former interior minister and two high-ranking army officials as Ivanishvili seeks to pursue officials from the previous government accused of wrongdoing.

The string of arrests has raised concerns among EU and NATO officials in Brussels, who have warned Ivanishvili against staging a witchhunt against his political opponents.

With reporting by Reuters and Interfax