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Georgia To Release 94 Prisoners

May 22, 1999

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) _ Georgia’s president has signed an amnesty bill calling for the release of 94 prisoners, including former Defense Minister Tengiz Kitovani, a Georgian official announced Saturday.

Kitovani, a former warlord found guilty in 1996 of illegally forming an armed group, was serving an eight-year sentence in the former Soviet republic, according to Rusudan Beridze, the deputy secretary of the National Security Council.

He had suffered several heart attacks while in prison, Beridze said, and the 60-year-old man’s poor health was a consideration in releasing him.

After his release, he told reporters he would no longer continue in opposition to the government, but planned to run as an independent candidate in next fall’s parliamentary elections, the Interfax news agency said.

Under the amnesty, signed by President Eduard Shevardnadze on Friday night, a total of 74 male and 20 female prisoners suffering from health problems will be released, Beridze said.

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