Georgia: Prisoner released after singing on TV

Minister addressing contestant on stage Image copyright Imedi TV
Image caption Georgia's prisons minister (r) took to the stage to announce that Teona Kolbaia (c) had been released on parole

An inmate has been released from a Georgian prison after performing in a TV song contest.

Teona Kolbaia was jailed for armed robbery in 2012, but this year she was allowed to sing in the Voice of Georgia, whose studios she visited under guard.

In the show aired live by Imedi TV, Ms Kolbaia was defeated by another contestant, and thus failed to make it to the quarterfinals. But after the judge announced his decision, Prisons Minister Kakha Kakhishvili took to the stage to declare that she was freed on parole.

"We've been keeping a close eye on her," the minister said, adding that a parole board decided to free Teona. He also thanked the TV show for helping her reintegrate back into society.

Visibly shaken, a tearful Ms Kolbaia vowed "to use this opportunity to start my life anew". Imedi TV later reported that she returned home after collecting her belongings from prison.

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