Few Details Emerge over Reported Arrest of Alleged Spies
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 1 Nov.'10 / 23:49

With the officials sources remaining tight-lipped over reported arrest of 20 persons suspected of spying for Russia, few details started to emerged in the Georgian media sources.

It was reported that at least three suspects into the case were arrested in Georgia's Black Sea resort of Batumi over two weeks ago. Their defense lawyers are not authorized to speak about the details of the case, as investigation files are classified and remain secret.

"This is confidential information and I have no right to provide you with any information," Nana Tsuladze defense lawyer of two detained suspects told Kavkasia TV on November 1. "I am acting in defense of two detainees; I know some others have also been arrested, but I do not know exact numbers."

She said that her clients - Armen Gevorkian and Ruben Shikoian - were working for a company inspecting oil products with Gevorkian acting as company director and Shikoian as deputy director.

Third person, Ruslan Galogre, was working as a manager in one of the hotels in Batumi. His lawyer, Shalva Lebanidze, told Maestro TV on November 1, that Galogre was charged with the article 311 of the criminal code involving working for foreign intelligence. "He pleaded not guilty and uses his right to silence," the lawyer said.

Lawyers said their clients were in pre-trial detention pending investigation.

News about the arrest of alleged spies in Georgia was reported by Reuters on Friday evening, citing unnamed Georgian security sources. The Georgian Interior Ministry declines to confirm or deny the report and no official comment on the matter is expected until late this week.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry said on November 1 it had no detailed information about the case as it was handled by the Interior Ministry.

”This issue is totally under the Interior Ministry's [competence]... We have no precise information yet about the issue,” Nino Kalandadze, the deputy foreign minister, said.

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