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Georgia detains ex-MP for conspiring to overthrow government

(Xinhua)

09:11, February 21, 2012

TBILISI, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Georgian authorities detained on Monday a former lawmaker of the country while he was trying to cross the borders from Armenia into Georgia, the Georgian Interior Ministry said on Monday.

Ex-member of the parliament Valery Gelbakhiani, charged with conspiring to overthrow the government four years ago, had been on the South Caucasus country's wanted list, according to a ministry statement.

The Georgian law enforcement showed four years ago a video footage showing Valery Gelbakhiani as allegedly involving himself in plotting social unrest against the government prior to the country's January 2008 snap presidential election.

After Valery Gelbakhiani got his MP credentials stripped, a local court ruled a pre-trial detention for the ex-MP in absentia in early February of 2008. Valery Gelbakhiani has been denying charges as politically-motivated.

On Monday, Giorgi Targamadze, member of the parliament and leader of opposition Christian-Democratic Movement, appealed to the authorities that Valery Gelbakhiani was returning to Georgia in order to see his ailing mother and there was no reason to arrest him.

"On January 22, 2008, Valery Gelbakhiani was held criminal responsibility as an accused for a crime envisaged by the article 315 I part of the Criminal Code of Georgia. In February 2008 Valery Gelbakhiani was sentenced to imprisonment in absentia and was announced as wanted by police from February 4 of the same year. On February 20 of 2012 Valery Gelbakhiani was detained while crossing the Georgian-Armenian state border," the interior ministry statement said.

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