8/7 Tass 145
TBILISI, July 8 (Itar-Tass) —— A popular Georgian newspaper, Versiya, demands that the authorities must disclose full information about the detention of four photographers.
“The report shocked Georgian journalists. The authorities classified the case and the lawyers made written pledges not to make comment for the media,” the newspaper said.
“Journalists demand documents, which were the basis of the accusations brought against the photographers. If the authorities are doing that to intimidate the media, we tell them straight they will not succeed,” the newspaper said.
A number of Georgian non-governmental and media outlets also called on the authorities to disclose information about the case.
The detention of four photo reporters in Georgia is unrelated to their professional activity, presidential press secretary Manana Mandzhgaladze told the Pressa.G news agency on Friday.
“The suspects are photographers, but the detention is unrelated to their professional activity. They are accused of transferring confidential information, including written documents and schedules of confidential events, to an organization, which has been defined as a spying network,” she said. “That is the charge, but the decision will be made by the court.”
Mandzhgaladze described as “inappropriate and outrageous the attempts to link the detention of the photographers to the media freedom.” “Even if they had held different positions, the accusations would have been the same,” she said.
The Georgian Interior Ministry reported on Thursday the detention of four Georgian photo reporters: photo reporter of the European Photo Press Agency Zurab Kurtsikidze, presidential administration photographer Irakly Gedenidze, his wife, Natiya Gedenidze (also a photographer) and Foreign Ministry photographer Giya Abdaladze.
The lawyers said that the detainees had rejected the accusations. Abdaladze went on a hunger strike in protest against his detention.