Recordings of Private Lives Obtained through Illegal Surveillance said to be Destroyed on Sunday
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 19 Jun.'13 / 13:37

A commission, established to oversee destruction of recordings, which the Interior Ministry says were obtained through illegal surveillance by the previous authorities and stored at the Interior Ministry, said data involving private lives of individuals would be destroyed on June 23.

The commission is made up of senior officials and civil society representatives, including interior minister Irakli Garibashvili; chief prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili; public defender Ucha Nanuashvili; as well as executive director of Transparency International Georgia Eka Gigauri and editor-in-chief of Rezonansi newspaper Lasha Tugushi, who have been actively lobbying for an immediate destruction of this archive; the group also includes head of Research Center for Elections and Political Technologies Kakhi Kashishvili.

The archive, according to some commission members, includes 12,888 computer files large portion of which contain recordings obtained through illegal surveillance on political parties and various political figures, who were in opposition to the previous authorities.

Another part of the achieve consists of recordings, containing private lives and secretly recorded sex videos of various individuals, including public figures. This portion of achieve will be destroyed on June 23 and the part of the achieve, containing recordings obtained through illegal surveillance on political parties and politicians, will be destroyed at a later stage, according to commission members.

Existence of this achieve was first announced by Interior Minister Garibashvili earlier this year, saying that the recordings would have been destroyed after the investigation into illegal surveillance was completed. But after a sex video of a critic of some senior officials was leaked in early May on the internet – the video which allegedly was part of this achieve, the Interior Minister announced about intention to “immediately” destroy the achieve. First deputy interior minister, Gela Khvedelidze, who was one of the targets of corruption accusations by the man whose sex video was leaked, was accused of leaking the video and charged with privacy breach. Despite announcement at the time to “immediately” destroy the achieve, later the Interior Minister, as well as PM Ivanishvili, suggested to delay the process citing ongoing investigation; but in mid-June the ministry agreed to set up a commission with involvement of civil society representatives to oversee the process of destruction of the achieve.

The Interior Ministry, however, also says that it is not aware whether the copies of recordings are available to third parties or not. “There is no guarantee that the previous authorities have no copies of these recordings,” Garibashvili said in May.

A bill on amnesty has been drafted in the Parliament, which, if approved, will exempt from punishment those who will voluntarily hand over to the authorities such recordings obtained through illegal surveillance within one month following enforcement of this bill.

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