The Tbilisi City Court on Friday sentenced in absentia the Georgian opposition leader's husband to five years and six months in prison for attacking police during a protest in May.
Badri Bitsadze, the former chief of Georgia's border police and the husband of Georgia's key opposition politician Nino Burdzhanadze, was found guilty of orchestrating attacks on police during an opposition protest. The five-day rally against President Mikheil Saakashvili was broken up in the early hours of May 26.
The trial was held in the absence of Bitsadze, whose whereabouts have been unknown for two months. He is thought to have fled Georgia.
The court said in a statement that Bitsadze and his supporters from the Representative Public Assembly movement "formed a paramilitary group" and in May 2011 tasked them with "organizing an attack on police during the Public Assembly rally with the use of truncheons and other weapons to provoke large-scale clashes."
Prosecutors presented as evidence the testimony of the group's head, retired General Gia Uchava, and audio and video recordings of conversations between Public Assembly members.