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Georgia’s outgoing president pardons ally

November 3, 2013

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — Outgoing Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has pardoned a former minister who was found guilty of using excessive force to suppress a 2006 prison uprising in which seven inmates were killed and 22 injured.

Bacho Akhalaia, a former defense minister who headed Georgia’s prison service at the time of the uprising, is one of the most prominent among dozens of Saakashvili’s loyalists who have faced charges.

A court convicted Akhalaia and ordered him sent to prison the day after an Oct. 27 presidential election won by Saakashvili’s rival.

The head of Saakashvili’s administration, Andro Barnov, said Sunday the president has pardoned Akhalaia.

Saakashvili, who is expected to be questioned after he leaves office Nov. 17, flew to Brussels the day following the election for consultations with European Union leaders.

Update hourly