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Former Georgian defense minister arrested in Germany
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14:08, November 29, 2007

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Former Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili, the exiled opposition leader, has been arrested in Germany, Berlin state prosecutors said Wednesday.

Okruashvili was detained by German police in a Berlin hotel Tuesday night at the request of Georgian authorities, a state prosecutor's spokesman said.

Georgia's Interior Ministry and general prosecutor's office confirmed the arrest but have declined to comment further.

German authorities will in the coming 40 days consider a request to extradite Okruashvili, who is scheduled to attend a closed-door hearing Wednesday, where the prosecutors will decide whether to hold him in custody pending extradition.

He was arrested in September by Georgian police on charges of abuse of office, money laundering and extortion but was freed days later on bail with a 6-million-U.S. dollar surety.

Okruashvili, once an ally of former President Mikhail Saakashvili, flew to Germany earlier this month after his supporters staged anti-government demonstrations urging Saakashvili to step down, triggering a riot between the protestersand the police.

On Nov. 7 Saakashvili declared a state of emergency lasting nine days. He also brought forward the presidential election from the autumn to Jan. 5, 2008, and resigned on Nov. 25 to campaign for the poll.

Okruashvili says Saakashvili made the move merely in a bid to win.

Source: Xinhua



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