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Georgia frees 190 political prisoners

The government of Georgia freed 190 people considered by parliament to be political prisoners on Sunday under an amnesty agreement. The amnesty was opposed by President Mikhail Saakashvili and has intensified a power struggle [Reuters report] within the country. Many of the prisoners who were released were arrested in May 2011 during anti-Saakashvili protests [AP report]. Approximately 3,000 total prisoners will be released in the next two months as part of the amnesty agreement approved by parliament in December. Saakashvili vetoed the agreement approved by parliament but parliament was able to overturn the veto, further exacerbated tensions between the government and parliament.

In December Georgian Chief Prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili announced [JURIST report] that the former justice minister in Georgia, Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili, was set to be charged on December 26 in connection with the torture of prisoners in the country's capital of Tbilisi. The prosecution investigated allegations of torture in the prison. In September UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called on authorities in Georgia to investigate [JURIST report] prisoner mistreatment after video footage allegedly depicted the torture and rape of prisoners in the country's capital of Tbilisi.

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