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Saakashvili finds spies at home

11.07.2011  |  11:33

Saakashvili finds spies at home. 19388.jpegLooks like the spy scare has gained total possession of Mikheil Saakashvili. Recently the police arrested four photographers now accused of high treason. People have long grown used to Mishiko's fits of insanity but this time he seems to surpass himself sending his personal photo correspondent as well as the photographer at the ministry of foreign affairs of Georgia to jail. GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed the details of detention and the Georgian society's attitude to the scandal with Petre Mamradze, a parliamentary deputy of



Zurab Kurtsikidze, a representative of European Pressphoto Agency (EPA), Irakli Gedenidze, photographer of the presidential administration and his wife Natia Gedenidze as well as Georgi Abdaladze, photographer at the Georgian ministry of foreign affairs have fallen under displeasure with the president. As the Georgian ministry of interior reports, the journalists are accused of "transfer of different kinds of information in prejudice of interests of Georgia to organizations working under the cover of a special service of a foreign state in abuse of their duty positions".

The law-enforcement authorities treat the case as "Classified" though the press managed to get hold of a number of details. Thus, the police took EUR 9 thousand allegedly obtained from a representative of Moscow branch of Reuters news agency from Zurab Kurtsikidze during the search. "The arguments" of power officials with regard to the rest of the bunch are unknown but the situation is aggravated by the fact that even lawyers are banned from promulgating all details of the inquest.

Naturally, the detainees do not plead guilty. As Nino Andriashvili, Kurtsikidze's lawyer says, her client does not understand what is going on, News Georgia reports. Georgia Abdaladze, presently on a hunger strike, is shocked too.

A maniacal fit of spy scare that president Mikheil Saakashvili is possessed with, has been commented on in Moscow. Russia's ministry of foreign affairs warns Georgian citizens that next time street cleaners, policemen or common residents of a small town will be declared public enemies. "We are not surprised that Tbilisi refers to these people as to planted spies, bringing espionage into the context", - Alexander Lukashevich, spokesman at the Russian ministry of foreign affairs stated adding that the entire story demonstrates the real level of democracy in Georgia.

Arbitrariness of the authorities was condemned inside the country. The Charter of Journalist Ethics of Georgia, Center for Human Rights NGO as well as the Labor Party and Free Georgia party expressed their protest against the terror of the current regime.

What is the exact fault of the photographers that were part of the president's pool? Maybe they made a bad picture of the president? It seems Georgia's far-sighted "Columbos" have no logic at all. Why far-sghted? Because quite recently Georgia's interior minister Vano Merabishbili publicly announced that "not all Russian spies" have been sent to jail yet. Well, if the minister decided to fulfill the plan at the sacrifice of four photographers that have been working in the president's inner circle for many years, then it is not a good idea at all.

In order to make the situation clear and learn new details of the inquest, GeorgiaTimes correspondent got in touch with Petre Mamradze, a deputy of the Georgian parliament.

He says the story does look like a new spy hunt. "Certainly it's hard to ascertain that when you don't have access to the materials of the inquest, but today the presidential administration came up with a statement that the detainees obtained secret printed materials on Saakashvili's planned protocol activities without passing any photo materials to a third party", - he said. - The authorities claim it's a serious information leak. But what kind of secret is it?

Mamradze is sure: knowing that even Georgia's foreign friends say that Georgia's only secret is an inadequate president it all sounds ridiculous and foolish. "Besides, the arrested photo reporters are reputable people that have been covering wars in South Caucasus since late 1980s and have seen everything with their own eyes", - the parliamentarian says. - They are well-known in our society. Colleagues call them real patriots, devoted to their motherland and to their work. It is absurd to suspect them of a silly leak. Remarkably, the site of the European photo agency immediately eliminated all photos they had made including those of May 26".

Answering the question about the probable outcome our interlocutor suggests that the photo correspondents might be sentenced to serious prison terms. "The regime is now at a stage when committing something mad, inconsiderate and irrational the authorities simply can't step back", - Mamradze emphasized. - If they make a concession, it will be only a start and the regime will fall. They understand that. But Saakashvili has almost run out of money, and the international organizations are changing their attitude to him. So the struggle must go on."

Ruslan Chigoev

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