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Georgia jails fugitive politician

Irakli Okruashvili
Mr Okruashvili is accused of abuse of power

A court in Georgia has sentenced former defence minister and opposition politician Irakli Okruashvili to 11 years in jail in absentia.

Mr Okruashvili, currently living in France, was found guilty of extortion.

Mr Okruashvili says the charges against him are politically motivated. He is a prominent critic of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili.

He was arrested in Germany in December on an Interpol warrant, but was later allowed to enter France.

Georgia is seeking his extradition, while he is requesting political asylum in France.

Mr Okruashvili was first arrested in Georgia last September, after accusing President Saakashvili of corruption.

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

His original arrest triggered a wave of opposition rallies, prompting Mr Saakashvili to declare a state of emergency and call a snap election, which he won in January.


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