Georgian Photographers Arrested on Suspicion of Espionage

Police in Georgia arrested four photographers, including the personal photographer of Georgia’s president and a photojournalist with European Pressphoto Agency, during an early morning raid today, according to a statement from the Georgia Interior Ministry. The BBC reports that the ministry has accused the photographers of working against the interests of Georgia by supplying the special service of an unnamed country with information.

The four photographers are Irakli Gedenidze, photographer to President Mikheil Saakashvili; Georgian foreign ministry photographer Georgy Abdaladze; and Zurab Kurtsikidze of EPA. Gedenidze’s wife, Natia, was also arrested and is under investigation. Associated Press photographer Skakh Aivazov was also detained, but was released after several hours, AP reports.

Relatives of the photographers reported that they were arrested in their homes in the early morning by plainclothes officers who seized cameras, cellphones and computers, according to Reuters. Dozens of journalists rallied outside the Interior Ministry in Tbilisi to protest the detentions.

The photographers’ arrests came the same week several Georgians and some Russians were convicted in a Georgian court of spying for Russia, which fought a war with Georgia in 2008.  As the BBC notes, this is the first time journalists have been accused of spying.

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5 Responses to “Georgian Photographers Arrested on Suspicion of Espionage”

  1. Georgian Photographers Arrested on Suspicion of Espionage | Global Community of Photography Says:

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  2. Paul Calhoun Says:

    More nonsense from a country desperately trying to court western favor and to fulfill its grandiose vision of itself. George Bush called Georgia a “Beacon of Freedom for all of East Europe”. About this and so many other things he was wrong.

  3. Toni Aull Says:

    It goes to show us that their to busy trying to accuse someone instead of future…protect the Photographers and get rid of the liars

  4. Marky Says:

    It’s more complicated that American black and white absolute views of the country. Georgia is a very mixed ethnic land with ties to Russia very interwoven into the people and culture. It’s not hard to see one view of these people spying. Indeed Russia has a foriegn policy designed to destablise the country however Georgian governent and inelligence offcials want very much to be seen as Russia’s equal in soverignty and send a lot of time resisting. The situation is fluid and changing often.

    The economy is growing but so is the debt. The are too many out of work people who will take money from anyone.

    Its possible these photographers are inocent but equally possible they were selling photos of things they shouldn’t intentionally or not.

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