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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2007, 14:11 GMT
Georgian opposition leader held
Irakli Okruashvili (R) - file photo
Mr Okruashvili says the president's anti-corruption drive is a sham
Georgian opposition leader Irakli Okruashvili has been arrested in Germany on an Interpol warrant issued by Tbilisi, German prosecutors say.

Mr Okruashvili, 34, a former defence minister, was first arrested in Georgia in September after accusing President Mikhail Saakashvili of corruption.

He was bailed after retracting his statement and left for Germany, but later said his retraction was forced.

Extradition proceedings could take up to six weeks.

German officials made no comment about the charges against Mr Okruashvili, but in Georgia he was charged with corruption, money laundering, abuse of power and negligence.

Wave of unrest

Mr Okruashvili, a former ally of Mr Saakashvili, was sacked as defence minister in November 2006.

He has become a vocal critic of the president, accusing him of corruption and plotting the murder of a political opponent.

His original arrest triggered a wave of opposition rallies, prompting Mr Saakashvili to declare a state of emergency earlier this month.

He withdrew his allegations, and was released on bail and went abroad.

But he later said he was forced to retract his accusations by the Georgian authorities, who he said threatened him and his colleagues with long prison sentences.

Profile: Mikhail Saakashvili
08 Nov 07 |  Europe

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