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Okruashvili receives French political asylum documents

TBILISI, April 28 (RIA Novosti) - France's Foreign Ministry has given political asylum documents to Georgian opposition leader Irakly Okruashvili, his lawyer said on Monday.

France granted political asylum to Okruashvili, a former Georgian defense minister, last Wednesday. Georgia had filed an extradition request in March.

"The documents [certifying political asylum] have been officially handed over in Paris," Yekaterina Beseliya said.

Last September, Okruashvili accused his former ally, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, of setting up corrupt commercial deals to benefit his family, plotting to seize Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia by force, and ordering the assassination in the U.K. of Georgian billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili.

Georgian prosecutors subsequently arrested and charged Okruashvili with abuse of office, money laundering, and corruption. After being released, the opposition leader fled the country. He was consequently tried in absentia and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Okruashvili was arrested in Germany last November at the request of Georgian authorities and later extradited to France, where he had received his Schengen zone visa, in line with Schengen guidelines.

A Paris court released the former minister on bail on January 30.

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