TBILISI, DFWatch — The Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili Thursday visited the families of several officials who were arrested yesterday. He also had a phone conversation with another military official and the former interior minister’s wife.

According to the president’s press office, Saakashvili visited the family of Giorgi Kalandadze, head of the general headquarters, to see his wife and two children.

The president also had a phone conversation with the wife of Bacho Akhalaia, a former interior, defense and prison minister who served under him, and also met with the wife of Zurab Shamatava, commander of the fourth brigade of the armed forces, who has one child and a pregnant wife.

All three were arrested November 7 and charged on Thursday for abusing their powers. Bacho Akhalaia was also charged with illegal deprivation of freedom.

The president, whose party after the election moved into opposition, considers the detentions a form of political persecution, even though there has long been suspicions regarding Akhalaia’s conduct while the National Movement Party was in power.

Bacho Akhalaia is associated with the prison abuse and is considered one of Saakashvili’s most loyal allies.