Russia’s North Caucasus Military Court found a Georgian citizen guilty of spying in favor of Georgia and sentenced him to 11 years in prison on March 25, the Russian media sources reported.
In the same case, two Russian citizens, who served in the Russian armed forces, were sentenced to 15 and 13 years in prison.
According to the Russian media reports, the Georgian citizen, Zaza Kherkeladze, is described in court files as “deputy head of operative unit of the Georgian intelligence”. He has been based in capital of North Ossetia, Vladikavkaz, for undercover operation since 2007 with a fake Russian passport running a café.
According to these reports, Kherkeladze recruited two lieutenant colonels of the Russian army – Khvicha Imerlishvili and Marlen Bogdanov (Balashvili), who have been gathering information about military facilities in North Caucasus, as well as about those Russian servicemen who could have been potentially recruited by the Georgian intelligence.
Kherkeladze was arrested in June, 2008.
The Georgian Interior Ministry has declined to comment.
In December, 2009 Court in Russia’s North Ossetian Republic found a 55-year-old Russian citizen of Georgian origin guilty of spying in favor of Tbilisi and sentenced him to eight years in prison.
In October, 2009 a serviceman of the Russian armed forces, Jemal Nakaidze, was sentenced to nine years in prison for espionage in favor of Georgia and in August, 2009 a former deputy commander of one of the Russia’s military units of North Caucasus Military District, Mikhail Khachidze, was sentenced to six years in prison.