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Georgia: No Immunity for Presidential Candidate


Georgian authorities say they will not guarantee presidential candidate Badri Patarkatsishvili additional immunity from prosecution upon his return to the country to launch his campaign.

Patarkatsishvili, who is currently in London, is under investigation on charges of seeking to overthrow the government. Under Georgian law, he has immunity as a presidential candidate, but his supporters say prosecutors may attempt to revoke his legal protection.

Georgian Conflict Resolution Minister David Bakradze Thursday said the government cannot lawfully offer one presidential candidate more legal protection than others.

Patarkatsishvili, a millionaire businessman, is expected to return to Georgia this week.

Georgian election officials formally registered Patarkatsishvili Sunday as a candidate in next month's presidential election.

The Central Election Commission said Sunday that Patarkatsishvili has the proper number of valid signatures on his petition.

Patarkatsishvili is co-owner of the pro-opposition Imedi television, which Georgian police raided and shut down last month during the opposition-led protests against then-President Mikhail Saakashvili. The station returned to the air Wednesday.

Mr. Saakashvili resigned last month, as required by law, to run for re-election. Parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze is acting president.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.