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Russian “espionage” with half-year delay2010-11-17 16:59
Georgian MFA reported Russian diplomats to have visited one of the Russian citizens kept on the charge of espionage in the Georgian prison. Today, GeorgiaTimes found out that no diplomats were allowed behind the bars. Moreover, Russian citizens are already sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. Georgian authorities reported their detention when their sentences had been already awarded.
The fact that there was no meeting between the diplomats and the "spies" was reported by the convicts' relatives to Russian human rights portal SosRussia. Its leader Anton Samoylenkov told GeorgiaTimes that Russian diplomats visited the detainees only once in September. No one has been allowed to see the Russian citizens since then.
Georgian authorities have played a trick. They blew up a spy scandal half a year after the suspects' detention. By that time, a court decision had already been taken. Yuriy Skrylnikov was sentenced to 18 years of imprisonment, while Mikhail Vyalov to six years. Everything was done so quietly that no one was able to help the Russians.
No one had any illusions as to the Georgian court's objectiveness but the very information on the awarded sentences was kept by Georgian authorities behind seven seals. Their purpose is clear: they wanted to deprive Russian citizens of any chance of receiving support from their county or human rights defenders.
Nino Kalandadze simply lied in her story about the Russian diplomats' visit to the prisoners. RF MFA never got any response to its note demanding such visit. For Yuriy Skrylnikov, who is 63 now, an 18-year sentence practically means a death sentence.
He does not look like an intelligence officer at all. He has been living in the town of Zelenokumsk of Stavropolsky region of Russia for ten years. In Soviet times, he worked for the Department of Internal Affairs in Batumi and then was transferred to the prosecutor's office. He has got a good knowledge of Georgian. Each summer, Srkylnikov came to the town where he had spent most of his life. His children were born in Batumi; he has got many friends there, with whom he spent time playing backgammon and drinking wine...
Politics turned him into a spy scandal hero. Georgian special services reckoned Skrylnikov a decent candidate for spy, having acted out a real "Bondiana" around the pensioner.
On May 12 this year, Skrylnikov arrived in Batumi to spend his summer as usual. He crossed the border at Verkhniy Lars and was detained with much noise, right in the center of the town: the route taxi he had taken together with a relative was stopped by some people dressed in civil clothes. His future had been decided upon; the only point was to find a pretext to put the pensioner to prison. First, he was "discovered" to have false dollars and papers on him, which he allegedly took across the border. The rest of accusations were framed up while the Russian was kept in prison.
His son Ruslan opened a microblog at Twitter to tell the latest news about his father. It's very hard for him to get any information from Tbilisi isolation ward where the pensioner is kept. In his interview to GeorgiaTimes, Ruslan Skrylnikov supposed that his father got to prison only because he had worked in the law-enforcement system in Soviet times. "They arrested those who worked in the times of Abashidze and had any contacts with the Russian Army. Perhaps, they took him because of me: I served in a Russian group of forces in Transcaucasia", - says the prisoner's son.