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Prepared by Diana Dundua
Tuesday, April 15
“France won’t extradite Okruashvili to Georgia”

A former member of jailed ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili’s political party tells Akhali Taoba he’s sure a French court will grant Okruashvili political asylum.

Gia Tortladze says the fact that Okruashvili, who is under house arrest in Paris after being detained in Germany last November, was released on bail and can move freely means the court trusts him.

“Okruashvili has been out for a month and a half, and if he wished to leave [France] or hide he would have done this without any problems,” Tortladze said.

Okruashvili’s lawyer has previously said Okruashvili did not pay bail to be released in France. His case is expected to be heard again tomorrow.

A Tbilisi court recently found Okruashvili guilty of extortion stemming from his time in office, sentencing him to 11 years’ imprisonment.

Tortladze said that if Okruashvili is extradited to Georgia, opposition politicians would start protest rallies.

Okruashvili arrest on corruption charges in September 2007 sparked the largest set of opposition demonstrations since the 2003 Rose Revolution.

“Bagapsh threatened Kishmaria”

Mteli Kvira writes that the Abkhaz separatist leadership held a meeting to discuss distributing Abkhaz passports in Gali district, which is predominantly populated by ethnic Georgians.

Abkhaz de facto president Sergey Bagapsh threatened to fire the envoy to Gali, according to the newspaper, because only twelve Gali residents have so far agreed to take Abkhaz passports.

Bagapsh reportedly told Ruslan Kishmaria, the envoy to Gali, that if he cannot distribute the passports to the 50 000 people in the district, the separatist leader will find someone who can.

“Georgian fashion designer’s collection closed Moscow fashion week”

Georgian fashion designer Baku Bakuradze’s collection closed out a Moscow fashion week, Sakartvelos Respublika reports.

By the newspaper’s account, the fashion show was held in one of Moscow’s most prestigious venues, with both the Georgian and Russian elite in attendance.

“Presenting a collection at the Moscow fashion week is a serious achievement and success,” Bakuradze said. “Without the support of Georgian diaspora in Russia I would not have been able to hold such a high-class fashion show.”

The show was put together by the organization Georgians in Moscow.

“Russian peacekeepers wounded Zugdidi resident”

Akhali Taoba writes that drunken Russian peacekeepers shot and injured a local woman in Zugdidi district, just south of breakaway Abkhazia.

Georgian media reported that peacekeepers and several locals got into an argument, which led to shots fired and a shop assistant hit in the shoulder.

Doctors at the Zugdidi hospital say her health is stable.

The newspaper does not report the Russian peacekeeping headquarters’ denial that the incident ever took place.

“Avtandil Jorbenadze plans to participate in the parliamentary elections as a majoritarian candidate”

Mteli Kvira reports that a former state minister under ex-president Eduard Shevardnadze government will make a bid for a majoritarian seat in parliament

Avtandil Jorbenadze will run with the Rightist Alliance as a candidate from Lanchkhuti, a district in western Georgia’s Guria province.

There are also candidates from the ruling party and the nine-party opposition coalition vying for the seat.