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Georgian Court Releases Military Officials On Bail, Ex-Interior Minister Still Held

Georgian former Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaia (center) in police custody.
A court in Tbilisi has released two military officials on bail but left a former interior minister in pretrial detention.

Georgia's armed forces chief of staff Giorgi Kalandadze and Georgian Army brigade commander Zurab Shamatava were released on bail of 20 thousand laris ($9,400).

Georgia's former interior minister, Bacho Akhalaia, was ordered to be kept in pretrial detention for two months.

The three were arrested and charged with abuse of office earlier this week.

Prosecutors had demanded that all three remain be held in pretrial detention.

Earlier on November 9, 29 members of parliament representing President Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement party requested the trio's release on bail.

Saakashvili's party became a parliamentary minority after it was defeated by current Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition during elections last month.

NATO Official Says Tbilisi Visit Has Been Postponed

Meanbwhile, in related news, a NATO official has told RFE/RL that a visit by the alliance's Military Committee to Tbilisi has had to be rescheduled because of the current political situation in Georgia.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said on November 9 that "recent events in Georgia make it difficult for both sides to fully benefit from the visit at this time."

Georgia's Minister for Integration into European Institutions, Aleksi Petriashvili, told journalists on the same day that the NATO committee’s visit has been postponed due to the arrest of Georgia's armed forces chief of staff.

The chief of staff, Giorgi Kalandadze, Georgian Army brigade commander Zurab Shamatava, and former Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaia, were jailed this week and charged with abuse of office.

According to Petriashvili, the rescheduling of the committee's visit will not affect Tbilisi-NATO relations.

With reporting by