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Local man opens fire on ex-Defence Minister

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, October 4
Georgia’s ex-Defence Minister, Irakli Okruashvili, who takes part in the October 8 Parliamentary Elections as an independent majoritarian candidate in the eastern town of Gori, was shot at by a local man in Gori when he was meeting with voters.

Okruashvili made the statement after the incident and said two men who accompanied him at the pre-election event received injuries and were transported to hospital.

He accused the current ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party of being behind the attack.

“The GDDG coordinator, Eduard Nutsubidze, was trying to disrupt my meeting with the voters. Finally he brought a man, Aleksandre Indiashvili, to one of the meetings, who is a famous criminal in Gori, and the man opened fire on me and the people who were with me. One of my guards and our coordinator received injures,” Okruashvili said.

The alleged offender is on the run while law enforcers are investigate the case.

Executive Secretary of the GDDG Irakli Kobakhidze excluded any political motive in the case and stressed that the “pitiful incident” came after a dispute between Okruashvili’s supporters and the local people.

“Unfortunately, the consequence of the dispute was grave, as people were wounded, and the incident is strongly condemned by us. However, we repeat that the incident had no political grounds,” Kobakhidze said.

The head of the opposition Free Democrats, Irakli Alasania, has demanded an urgent investigation into the case and stressed that no such confrontations were in the state's interests.

Okruashvili was one of the closes allies of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, and was the country’s Defence Minister for two years from 2004 to 2006 before he was dismissed.

In 2007, he made a scandalous comeback to politics and openly confronted Saakashvili and his government.

That same year, Okruashvili was briefly arrested at his party headquarters on charges of corruption, money laundering and abuse of official powers.

In 2007, he left Georgia and was granted political asylum in France. He returned to Georgia on November 20 2012, after the current ruling Georgian Dream coalition defeated the nine-year rule of the Saakashvili’s United National Movement.

After his return, some of the charges against him were dropped and he was cleared of the other charges in January 2013.