Four Georgian photographers accused of spying for Russia’s intelligence services have been released after being convicted in court and then given suspended sentences. The opposition believes that the case had nothing to do with justice.
“All this investigation was secret and no information was given either to media or to lawyers. This is because the law bars any disclosure of state secrets,” Kakha Kukava, leader of Georgian opposition Conservative Party told RT.
Giorgy Abdaladze, Zurab Kurkidze, Irakly and Natia Gedenidze were accused of passing secret about Georgia’s president, Mikhail Saakashvili, to Russia.
They all initially denied the accusations but later signed full confessions.
But Kakha Kukava says that nobody in Georgia knew until now what they were actually charged with.
“The only evidence in this case is the testimony of these people, no written documents, no independent witnesses, no other evidence,” Kukava said. “For Mr. Saakashvili accusing everybody of espionage in favor of Russia is the main political background of his domestic and foreign policy,” he added.
The photographers were arrested on July 7. Three of them, with the exception of Natia Gedenidze, who was released on bail, were put in custody.
Irakly Gedenidze is a photographer from the Georgian presidential press service, Zurab Kurkidze works for the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA), Giorgy Abdaladze is staff photographer for a local newspaper, while Alia has worked for Georgia’s Foreign Ministry and Associated Press.