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Georgian Police Arrest 'Armed Opposition Group'

Former Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili
Georgia's Interior Ministry says eight opposition activists have been charged with forming an illegal armed group to bring a fugitive politician back to the country.

The ministry says the suspects planned to help former defense minister Irakli Okruashvili to return to Georgia during antigovernment protests last month.

Okruashvili, a co-founder of the Georgian Party, fled after going into opposition and being convicted of corruption.

He said last month he would return to Georgia for protests scheduled for May 25, but later dropped his plans.

The Interior Ministry released videotaped testimony in which one of the suspects said Okruashvili was to enter Georgia through the Moscow-backed breakaway region of South Ossetia.

Sozar Subari, the chairman of the Georgian Party, said the arrests were part of a campaign of "repression and terror" by President Mikheil Saakashvili's government.

compiled from agency reports