Georgian opposition activist jailed for six years in absentia
|Publisher||Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty|
|Publication Date||9 August 2012|
|Cite as||Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Georgian opposition activist jailed for six years in absentia, 9 August 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/5029153ac.html [accessed 25 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
August 09, 2012
By RFE/RL's Georgian Service
Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition is seen as the main challenger to the ruling United National Movement ahead of elections in October.
TBILISI – A Georgian court has found a senior member of the opposition Georgian Dream political coalition guilty of fraud and sentenced him to six years in absentia.
Investigators said Melik Raisian, who is the head of the local branch of the coalition in the southern Akhalkalaki district, tried to extort $24,000 from a local man in 2007 and promised to help him evade taxes in return.
The court also ruled that Raisian, whose current whereabouts is unknown, has to pay a $6,000 fine.
Manana Kobakhidze, the chairwoman of the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia coalition, said Raisian was charged only after he joined the opposition coalition led by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.
The Georgian Dream coalition is seen as the main challenger to the ruling United National Movement party in parliamentary elections in October.
With reporting by Interfax and Apsny.ge