September 25th, 2007 13:23 EST
Ex Minister accuses Saakashvili of power grab
The former Defence Minister of Georgia, Irakly Okruashvili, has accused President Saakashvili of corruption and seizing power illegally. Okruashvili says he has evidence of numerous crimes committed by the current Georgian authorities.
A former Saakashvili loyalist, Okruashvili, made the claims while announcing the creation of a new opposition party.
“Saakashvili's entourage has gone beyond the limits and made unlawfulness and the suppression of people a general practice. Daily repressions, destruction of homes and churches, killings. I would like to stress – killings. They’ve become common practice by the authorities. And because of all that, the intimidation of people has become natural and they are afraid to protest against the government,” Irakly Okruashvili stated.
He alleged that Saakashvili had ordered him to kill certain people, but no names were specified.
Mr Okruashvili also accused the Georgian President of faking the country's anti-corruption campaign, saying that he was told to release one of Saakashvilli's relatives, who had been arrested for taking a $US 200,000 bribe.
He said he was going to present evidence later on Tuesday.
Okruashvili has held a number of posts in the Georgian government. He is known as a hawk, and was one of Saakashvili's closest allies.
President Mikhail Saakashvili is currently in New York attending the General Assembly of the United Nations. So far he has not commented on the accusations.
But a ruling party member Giga Bokeria has already called the allegations absurd.
“We've heard absolutely absurd and dirty accusations, a real hysteria. And we've heard them from the politician who was a member of the team at the time when the alleged monstrous crimes took place, and at the same time, who has been keeping silent until recently,” Mr Bokeria said.
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