President Saakashvili pardons former ally on prison riot case, 04 Nov 2013 - 00:00, Tbilisi,Georgia

Outgoing president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili deiced to pardon former Defense and Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaia. About his decision Saakashvili wrote on Facebook Sunday.

"Although he had no direct contact with the work by the Ministry of the Legal Assistance Akhalaia decided it would be proper to leave the post of the Interior Minister and then the country in order to avoid tensions. As we remember, he returned to Georgia soon and it was clear he would be arrested immediately. Upon arrival he called me and told he decided to answer on all the accusations, even at the cost of many months long pre-trial detention. He was convinced of his innocence and was going to prove it through being presented on the court and submitting arguments to justify himself, wrote Saakashvili about Akhalaia in his Facebook post. The president strictly criticized the prosecutors unfounded accusations against Akhalaia and actions during the court processes.

"The public saw the prosecutors offices complete helplessness of not only proving that Akhalaia was a "monster but also in terms of proving any minimum crime committed by him, Saakashvili wrote. According to him, many people have subjective attitude towards Akhalaia, but he would like to address everyone to "stay above all dirty gossips.

Despite the presidential pardon, Bacho Akhalaia remains in custody as Akhalaias lawyer Giorgi Oniani told journalists today. Currently he is sentenced to imprisonment on the Sandro Girgvliani case as a preventive punishment. Saakashvili pardoned Akhalaia on the so called prison riot case and removed the punishment of 3 years and 9 months.