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Paris court delays extradition hearing of Georgia's Okruashvili

PARIS, April 16 (RIA Novosti) - The extradition hearing of former defense minister Irakly Okruashvili that began on Wednesday at an appeal court in Paris has been postponed until June 11.

Last month the Tbilisi City Court sentenced Okruashvili, who is currently in France awaiting a political asylum decision, to 11 years in prison for taking bribes and Georgia has made an extradition request to French authorities.

If the court eventually rules against extraditing Okruashvili to Georgia, it will have to hold another hearing in several weeks to decide whether to grant him political asylum in France.

Last September, Okruashvili accused his former ally President Mikheil Saakashvili on TV of lobbying to line his family's pockets with commercial deals, plotting to seize Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia and ordering the killing of businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili.

Georgian prosecutors arrested and charged Okruashvili with abuse of office, money laundering and corruption. He was consequently tried in absentia and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Okruashvili fled to Germany and was subsequently extradited to France last year where he was arrested in November at the request of Georgian authorities.

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

Okruashvili said in early March that he would head the candidate list of his Movement for United Georgia, an opposition party, at Georgia's parliamentary polls in May.

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