Georgia: Former Prime Minister Sentenced to 5 Years

Published: 21 February 2014


Ivane Merabishvili


Former Republic of Georgia Prime Minister Ivane Merabishvili has been sentenced to five years in prison for public corruption charges in a verdict that has been branded by his defense as political prosecution.

Merabishvili served as prime minister for less than four months in 2012 under Georgia's then-president, Mikheil Saakashvili, until their United National Movement (UNM) lost a parliamentary election to Georgian Dream, a party led by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Merabishvili was accused of using public funds for the UNM’s 2012 election campaign. Press TV reports that he was also accused by prosecutors of obtaining a vacation home from a company through blackmail. He was sentenced on charges of bribery, misappropriation of public funds and abuse of power.

Zurab Chiaberashvili, a former health minister who was convicted in the same case but only fined and not imprisoned, said in court:

“I am innocent, and the same is true about Vano Merabishvili… I have stated many times that there has been a big pressure on the court by the government. Now we see the result of this pressure.”

Georgian officials have denied any political motivation behind the prosecution.