TBILISI, DFWatch — A former defense minister who is in prison awaiting trial has gone on hunger strike.

Irakli Okruashvili, who is charged with abuse of powers and extortion, says he is doing it to express solidarity with ten other prisoners who didn’t make it onto a list of political prisoners.

For the last five years, Okruashvili has lived in France, where he had political asylum.

His lawyer Mamuka Chabashvili told journalists that the former defense minister went on hunger strike yesterday, without any specific demand.

One of those ten persons is in the same cell as Okruashvili. Those people are members of the Georgian Party, which Irakli Okruashvili co-founded.

Some of the Georgian Party members in prison were not on a list of political prisoners which has been prepared by a committee in parliament.

According to the press office of the Georgian Party, Levan Terashvili, Kakha Terashvili and Davit Shiukashvili, who have been in prison for one year, went on hunger strike on December 9 to protest the removal of their names from the political prisoners’ list.

Protesters have gathered 30 signatures to restore justice, appealing to the parliamentary committee on human rights. 26 other prisoners in Matrosov Prison plan to go on hunger strike as a sign of solidarity.