Georgia Charges Saakashvili Ally After President’s Election Loss

Georgia filed criminal charges against an ex-minister allied with President Mikheil Saakashvili, whose ruling party lost parliamentary elections last month.

Bacho Akhalaia, a former interior and defense minister, was charged with abuse of office and false imprisonment, his lawyer, Joseph Janashia, said today in Tbilisi, the capital. He faces as long as 12 years in prison if found guilty, according to Janashia, who didn’t provide further details of the case.

Akhalaia, who was detained yesterday, resigned as interior minister in September after footage of prison guards beating and raping male inmates was broadcast. The questioning concerned his tenure as defense minister, not the prison scandal, according to David Dekanoidze, another of his lawyers.

Billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili’s opposition coalition unexpectedly defeated U.S.-backed President Saakashvili’s party in Oct. 1 elections, nominating the businessman as prime minister that month.

As well as Akhalaia, former chief of staff Giorgi Kalandadze was charged with abuse of office, his lawyer Gogita Gabaidze said.

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