TBILISI, DFWatch — 29 members of parliament (MPs) have declared their support for a former government minister, claiming that the case is politically motivated and that testimonies presented by the prosecutor’s office are insufficient reason for detaining him.

The declaration, signed by 29 Mps, was presented outside Tbilisi City Court Friday by Akaki Minashvili, MP from the National Movement Party, and pledges support for the former interior minister Bacho Akhalaia, who was inside attending his court hearing for preliminary detention.

The court also heard the cases against Giorgi Kalandadze, head of the general headquarters, and Zurab Shamatava, commander of the fourth brigade.

The 29 MPs claim that there is no evidence except testimonies, which they consider insufficient grounds for detaining the three.

Several MPs from the National Movement Party are attending today’s court hearing. They ask the court not to confine the three to preliminary detention.

Spokespersons for the party, which held power for eight and a half years until losing in the parliamentary election in October, has portrayed the detentions as a political game.

Before the court hearing started, a group of supporters of Bacho Akhalaia arrived outside the building holding posters in his support.

The show of support was announced yesterday on Facebook, but at the agreed time, there only showed up people who came to show their disgust at Bacho Akhalaia.

A few days ago, National Movement MPs said they would suspend work in parliament in Kutaisi and head back to Tbilisi, because they think there are more important things to do in the capital.