Georgia’s parliament has provisionally approved a plan to grant more than 200 people, who were jailed under President Saakashvili’s rule, the right to seek retrial.
A majority of 77 to 14 voted in favour of giving them political prisoner or exile status.
The move reflects tensions between supporters of the pro-US Saakashvili, who is still in office, and those of the coalition government which came to power earlier this year, and is seen as more pro-Russia.
Some of those on the list were arrested after street protests under the last government. Despite being praised for reforms, Saakashvili was accused of cracking down on opponents.
In turn the president has accused the new billionaire prime minister of orchestrating dozens of arrests of former state officials.
EU leaders and the US have raised concerns of a political witch-hunt.