Detained Georgian Photographers ‘Confess’ to Spying for Russia
The three Georgian photojournalists who were arrested in their homes on July 7, 2011, and accused of spying for Russia have “confessed,” according to an AFP report.
On Monday Georgian authorities confirmed that Zurab Kurtsikidze, a European Pressphoto Agency photographer and the alleged head of a spy ring funneling images and information to Russian intelligence officials, became the final suspect to admit to spying for the Russian government. Irakli Gedenidze, photographer to President Mikheil Saakashvili and Georgian foreign ministry photographer Georgy Abdaladze have also confessed, the AFP report said.
A lawyer for Abdaladze who was present when he confessed said she believed he did so “under psychological pressure,” and Kurtsikidze’s lawyer said that although his client had confessed, he believed the prosecution did not have enough other evidence to convict his client.
The photographers could face up to 12 years in prison if they are convicted.
The arrest of the photographers has prompted protests in both Tblisi and Moscow, and several Georgian newspapers and Web sites published their front pages without photographs yesterday in a coordinated protest.