Former interior minister Bacho Akhalaia was back in court Thursday. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–The most controversial court case against former officials continued on Thursday, as ex interior minister Bacho Akhalaia made another appearance in the city court here in Tbilisi.

The close Saakashvili ally is charged with abuse of powers, illegal deprivation of liberty and torture. His lawyers asked the court to release their client on 50 000 GEL (USD 30 000) bail.

The lawyers also plan to present testimony from around 70 witnesses and request to admit it as evidence.

The hearing started at 10:00 in the morning and is still ongoing. As has become a tradition, Akhalaia’s supporters and family held a support rally outside the court before the hearing. Protesters claim the former minister is the ‘personal prisoner’ of the prime minister and a victim of political persecution.

All participants at the rally went into the courtroom to follow the hearing, which is held in a large hall, due to the large crowds of people wishing to attend. The court building is protected by police.

At the beginning of the hearing, the judge allowed journalists to take photos and video for the first five minutes.