New allegation on ex-PM's death

April 6, 2005 at 3:51 PM
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TBILISI, Georgia, April 6 (UPI) -- The leader of a Georgian opposition party said Wednesday the nation's defense minister may be linked to the death of a former premier.

New Rightist leader David Gamkrelidze suggested ex-prime minister Zurab Zhvania's death could have been a result of his confrontation with current Defense Minister Irakly Okruashvili, Interfax news agency reported.

"I don't want to violate the presumption of innocence principle and point to a particular person, but I have the right to express my suspicions," Gamkrelidze told a news briefing according to the Interfax report. "The investigators have still not provided convincing evidence that Zurab Zhvania was the victim of an accident," he said.

Okruashvili, in an appearance Tuesday evening on Georgia's Imedi television network, accused Gamkrelidze and members of several non-government groups of plotting against the Georgian army. He charged the opposition with developing "a program of measures to discredit the army," Interfax said.

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