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NATO concerned over latest arrests in Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, November 13
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is quoted as being very concerned over the arrests of opponents of Georgia's new government following the elections last month, and has urged the authorities to ensure there is no political meddling in their trials.

"I'm extremely concerned about the development we have seen since (the elections), not least related to recent arrests of political opponents in Georgia," Reuters quoted Rasmussenís statement made at a meeting of NATO parliamentary assembly in Prague.

"It's for the legal system, the judicial system in Georgia to sort out these cases. But of course it's important that such trials are not undermined by political interference," the NATO chief said. "And we will of course follow that development very closely," he added.

Former Minister of Internal Affairs Bacho Akhalaia may face up to twelve years of detention for the illegal suppression of freedom and the violation of official duties. Chief of Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces Giorgi Kalandadze and Chief of the 4th brigade, Zurab Shamatava, are only accused of violating their official duties and face a considerably smaller sentence.

Georgiaís President Mikheil Saakashvili is also in Prague and held a meeting with the NATO SG. He has responded to Rasmussenís statement stating that NATO has strictly assessed the recent detentions in Georgia. Saakashvili told Radio Liberty that he has not remembered NATO to make such stern comments over Georgia.