The Tbilisi City Court ruled on July 9 positively on the prosecution’s request to send three photojournalists charged with espionage to a pre-trial detention pending investigation.
Lawyers of two arrested photographers said after a closed door court session, that preliminary court hearing into the case, which has been classified as secret, was scheduled for September 1, 2011.
Lawyers of Zurab Kurtsikidze, a photographer of European Pressphoto Agency and Giorgi Abdaladze, freelancer who recently also worked for the Foreign Ministry, said that their clients insisted on their innocence. They also said that the Irakli Gedenidze, President Saakashvili’s personal photographer, also pleaded not guilty; the latter’s lawyer, Tsotne Tsanava has declined to comment after the court session.
Tsanava is a new lawyer for Gedenidze, who initially was represented by a lawyer from the Tbilisi-based legal advocacy group Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association. The latter told journalist last night that he was presented with a handwritten statement of the client saying that he was replacing his lawyer with a new one.
Fourth photojournalist, a wife of Irakli Gedenidze, who was also arrested on July 7, was released from the police custody in early hours on Saturday.
Lawyers are not authorized to speak about the detail of the case as it has been classified as secret.
Mikheil Gongadze, a lawyer for Zurab Kurtsikidze, told Civil.ge that the case “really contains state secret materials.” Ramaz Chinchaladze, who is Giorgi Abdaladze's lawyer, has declined to comment on that question.