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A defiant Georgian National Socialist was found guilty and sentenced to three and a half years in jail by a Tbilisi court.

Giorgi Chelidze, the head of self-described fascist group Georgian (National) Unity, was convicted of illegally purchasing and storing firearms.

He was detained in September, 2018, and police said they found a cache containing 23 items of illegal ammunition, including bullets for Kalashnikov automatic rifles and machine guns, in his apartment.

Giorgi Chelidze has insisted he is innocent.

The police started a criminal probe into the case after the group circulated a video apparently filmed by themselves in which Chelidze and several young men are seen shooting with Kalashnikov rifles in a forest.

Giorgi Chelidze and his NS youth group leapt into prominence during a wave of protests in spring of 2018, against the brutal police crackdown on two major nightclubs in May that year.

Georgian Unity and some other radical groups staged a counter-rally against the club goers and the police barely managed to avoid a direct confrontation between the two groups of protesters.

Chelidze’s fame virtually soared after saluting in the manner of traditional National Socalists at the court hearings in October.

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