Georgian former defense minister acquitted on one charge

Photo: Georgian former defense minister acquitted on one charge / Georgia

Georgia, Tbilisi, Jan. 10 / Trend, N. Kirtzkhalia /

The Tbilisi Appeal Court has granted the Georgian prosecutor's office's claim and deemed former defense minister Irakli Okruashvili innocent in the case against him regarding the alienation of a portion of "Geocell" mobile phone company.

This decision was made today after all witnesses changed their testimonies, claiming that pressure was exerted on them by investigative bodies.

In 2007, Okruashvili was sentenced to 11 years in prison. The testimony of the then head of the communication commission Dmitry Kitoshvili was significant.

After Kitoshvili said at the current trial that he was forced to testify against Okruashvili under the pressure of the prosecutor's office, the prosecution abandoned the charges earlier made against the ex-minister.

The court has instructed the prosecutor's office to examine the causes and circumstances of pressure on Kitoshvili to give false testimony.

Despite the decision of the Appeals Court which cleared Okruashvili, he is still in custody with two more charges against him - the creation of illegal armed groups and negligence.

However, the former Minister's lawyer Zviad Kordzadze told the media after the decision of the Appeals Court that Okruashvili will be released in the near future, as witnesses back away from earlier given testimony.

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