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Ex-Georgia leader Saakashvili jailed in absentia

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Tbilisi (AFP)

A court in Georgia sentenced on Friday the country's former president Mikheil Saakashvili to three years in prison in absentia for abusing his power.

Saakashvili, who was president from 2004 to 2013, was found guilty of illegally pardoning four men who were convicted of the high profile murder of Georgian banker Sandro Girgvliani in 2006.

Girgvliani was found dead outside of the capital Tbilisi with multiple injuries after arguing in a bar with high-ranking interior ministry officials.

According to the judge, Saakashvili promised the then chief of Georgia's Constitutional Security Department to give the men pardons.

Saakashvili, who is now a politician in Ukraine, has called the case politically motivated and questioned the independence of the court.

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