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Originally published Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 2:23 AM

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190 Georgian 'political' prisoners walk free

Nearly 200 inmates considered political prisoners by Georgia's new parliament have walked free under an amnesty strongly opposed by President Mikhail Saakashvili.

The Associated Press

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TBILISI, Georgia —

Nearly 200 inmates considered political prisoners by Georgia's new parliament have walked free under an amnesty strongly opposed by President Mikhail Saakashvili.

Many of those who walked free on Sunday were arrested during anti-Saakashvili protests in May 2011. Others had been convicted of trying to overthrow the government or of spying for Russia. Relations with Moscow were cut off after Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in 2008.

The head of Parliament's human rights committee, Eka Beselia, described the prisoners as the president's "personal convicts" who had been imprisoned for opposing his government.

Saakashvili, however, warned of grave consequences following the release of what he described as criminals and Russian spies.

Saakashvili's party, which has dominated Georgian politics for nine years, lost control over Parliament in an October election.

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