Georgian Putin ‘Plot’ Lawmaker to Return to Tbilisi

MOSCOW, May 8 (RIA Novosti) – A Georgian lawmaker sought by Russia over his suspected role in an alleged plot to topple President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday he would return to Georgia from Lithuania after Interpol withdrew his name from its wanted list.

“I will return to my homeland on the earliest flight,” Givi Targamadze told Georgia’s Pirveli Radio.

Russian investigators charged last year Targamadze and three Russian leftist activists with plotting to seize power in a number of Russian cities as part of a plan to overthrow Putin.

One of the men charged, Konstantin Lebedev, a former member of a pro-Kremlin youth group, was sentenced to 2.5 years in jail last month after pleading guilty to the charges. His lawyer said he would also testify against Targamadze and his former fellow activists – Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov and another member of the leftsit movement, Leonid Razvozzhayev.

All three men deny the charges, which could see them jailed for up to ten years. Udaltsov says the charges are the Kremlin’s revenge for his role in helping to lead mass anti-Putin protests in Moscow last year.

Georgia’s foreign minister, Maia Panjikidze, said Targamadze – an ally of President Mikheil Saakashvili and the former head of the Georgian parliament’s defense and security committee – was free to return home.

Targamadze has been in Lithuania for the past few months. Lithuania refused to extradiate Targamadze in April.

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