Three Georgians Found Guilty of Spying Get Suspended Sentences

Posted July 22nd, 2011 at 1:05 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Three Georgian photographers were found guilty of spying for Russia Friday, but were released with suspended sentences after a 45-minute trial in Tbilisi.

The photographers included one of Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili's personal photographers, Irakli Gedenidze, and Foreign Ministry photographer Giorgi Abdaladze and Zurab Kurtsikidze of the European Pressphoto Agency.

The three men were arrested and charged with espionage earlier this month. They initially denied the charges, but later confessed to giving Russian agents sensitive information.

The judge gave three-year suspended sentences to Abdaladze and Gedenidze, two years to Kurtsikidze, and six months to Gedenidze's wife, who was found guilty of helping in the espionage plot.

There was concern among some in Georgia that the arrests were an attempt to limit the freedom of the press.

But prosecutors maintained that Gedenidze and Abdaladze had used their access to government offices to obtain and transmit what it described as classified information, including Mr. Saakashvili's work schedule,travel plans and floor plans of his office.