TBILISI, February 17. /ITAR-TASS/. The City Court in Kutaisi, Georgia, on Monday sentenced Vano Merabishvili, the former Georgian prime minister and ex-interior minister, to five years in prison on charges of bribing voters, misspending state funds and power abuse. The court also banned Merabishvili from holding public posts for 18 months.
Defense lawyers said that they would appeal the verdict in courts of higher jurisdiction.
Merabishvili was detained on May 21, 2013 on the aforesaid charges. The former prime minister was later accused of power abuse in connection with dispersing opposition demonstrations on May 26, 2011 and the murder of Sandro Girgvliani, a United Bank of Georgia employee, in 2006.
Court hearings on the two latest charges continue in Kutaisi.