Arrest of photojournalists, including Georgian President’s personal photographer, was a huge blow for Mikheil Saakashvili, his spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Manana Manjgaladze said at a press briefing that “it’s a very regretful fact” for President Saakashvili.
Echoing her previous statement, Manjgaladze again said that it was “a concrete criminal case”, which had nothing to do with “the issue of media freedom and restriction of journalistic activities.”
Irakli Kurtsikidze, a photojournalist for the Frankfurt-based European Pressphoto Agency (EPA); Giorgi Abdaladze, a freelancer who also was a contract photographer with the Georgian Foreign Ministry and also worked as a stringer for the Associated Press and Irakli Gedenidze, a personal photographer of President Saakashvili and his wife, Natia Gedenidze, also a photographer working for Tbilisi-based newspaper PrimeTime, were arrested on July 7 on espionage charges. Gedenidze gave a videotaped confession statement to the police. On July 9 Tbilisi City Court sent three of them to pretrial detention, while Irakli Gedenidze’s wife was released on bail.