Five-year sentence passed on former Georgian premier Merabishvili
The Kutaisi City Court found former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili guilty of the abuse of office, bribery of voters and the inefficient use of budget funds on Monday.
Merabishvili was sentenced to five years in jail.
The former prime minister rejected the accusations. He claimed that he was a victim of political persecution by the new Georgian authorities.
The Merabishvili defense team said they would appeal the sentence.
"We will definitely appeal this sentence. The Kutaisi Court succumbed to the pressure from the authorities and passed an illegal judgment," lawyer Giorgi Chiviashvili told reporters.
He said the Kutaisi City Court's order regarding former Kakhetia Governor Zurab Chiaberashvili, who was compelled to pay a compensation of 52,000 lari for being negligent about his duties, would also be appealed.
Chiaberashvili told reporters after he had been sentenced by the Kutaisi Court on Monday that he was innocent.
"I also think that the sentence passed on Vano Merabishvili was illegal. The authorities pressed the court real hard, and its decision was clear from the very start. Absolutely, we will keep fighting for justice," Chiaberashvili said.