Tbilisi City Court found Vakhtang Maisaia, a military analyst and a former diplomat, guilty of espionage in favor of Russia and sentenced him to 20 years in prison.
Maisaia, who was arrested in early May, 2009, was charged with violation of first and second parts of criminal code’s article 314. The first part of this article deals with gathering and passing secret information to foreign organizations or countries and the second part with “espionage committed during a war time or armed conflict”.
Maisaia denies charges and his defense lawyer plans to appeal the verdict.
Court hearings into the case were held behind the closed doors and investigation and court files remain confidential.
Maisaia, who has served as counselor at the Georgian mission in NATO in 2004-2008, holds a Ph.D. in political science and was a frequent commentator in local media on military-related issues.
Shortly after his arrest, President Saakashvili said while meeting with military top brass on May 6, that Maisaia “inflicted a huge damage to the country’s security.”
“During the August war he has been providing our enemy with the information about positions of the Georgian army once in every two hours or even more frequently,” Saakashvili said.
The remarks triggered Maisaia’s colleagues’ protest and a group of political analysts and civil society representatives released a joint statement criticizing the President for violating Maisaia’s right to presumption of innocence.