US embassy says ex-Defence Minister Okruashvili’s arrest raises concerns of political interference

Former Defence Minister Irakli Okruashvili was sentenced to five years in prison yesterday. Photo:, 14 Apr 2020 - 11:59, Tbilisi,Georgia

The US Embassy to Georgia says that the recent arrest of former Defence Minister, and current opposition leader Irakli Okruashvili has raised concerns of political interference and the selective use of justice.

The case casts a shadow over the impartial application of justice – a concern the March 8 Joint Statement was intended to dispel. We urge all signatories to uphold the letter and spirit of the March 8 agreement”, the US Embassy says.

Okruashvili was  found guilty in the June 20 rally case yesterday  and was sentenced to five years in prison by a Tbilisi City Court today.

Okruashvili was acquitted of organising group violence, however, he was found guilty of participating in group violence.

Okruashvili served as prosecutor general, interior and defence minister under the United National Movement government.

After opposing former president Mikheil Saakashvili back in 2007, he was detained on corruption charges.

Okruashvili left for France several days after he was released, where he lived until 2012.

He returned to Georgia in winter 2012, shortly after the Georgian Dream leadership defeated the nine-year-rule of the United National Movement leadership.

Currently he chairs the Victorious Georgia opposition party and is “fighting to regain his shares” of the Rustavi 2 channel.