Georgian ex-president's son freed from jail
Wednesday, 24 October 2012
TBILISI: The son of Georgia's first post-Soviet president Zviad Gamsakhurdia has been pardoned and freed from jail after serving two years for attempted murder, he said on Wednesday.
Tsotne Gamsakhurdia was convicted in 2010 of attempted murder and possession of an illegal weapon after shooting and wounding a neighbour, although he denied the charges and said they were politically motivated.
Gamsakhurdia, who claimed he had been prosecuted because of his opposition to the government, was released late Tuesday after being pardoned by President Mikheil Saakashvili on grounds of poor health.
"It happened absolutely unexpectedly... I did not appeal for a pardon," he told Georgian state television.
The freeing of Gamsakhurdia is one of several high-profile prisoner releases since Saakashvili's ruling party was defeated in parliamentary polls this month by an opposition coalition led by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.
Gamsakhurdia's father, a Soviet-era dissident and Georgian nationalist who led the country briefly after it won independence in 1991, was ousted amid widespread unrest in 1992 and later found dead in mysterious circumstances.
A parliamentary investigation last year concluded that his death in 1993 was probably murder and not suicide as officials had previously suggested, although it did not say who might have been responsible for killing him.
The trial of the ex-president's son Tsotne also attracted controversy when the former leader's widow tried to dig up his body in a bizarre protest over the prosecution. (AFP)