Giorgi Abdaladze, one of the photojournalists arrested and charged with espionage in favor of Russia, has given confession statement to investigators, his lawyers said on July 16.
“He confessed, but we all have an impression that the confession triggers a huge doubt,” Abdaladze’s one of the lawyers, Ramaz Chinchaladze, said.
He said that just few minutes before a formal interrogation by investigators, Abdaladze spoke face-to-face with his lawyers.
“He told us that he was not going to give confession statement; he was insisting on his innocence, saying that has not committed any crime whatsoever, especially espionage,” his lawyer Ramaz Gachechiladze told journalists.
“When the investigator and prosecutor came and the official interrogation started, to the astonishment of [lawyers] he said that he was pleading guilty,” Chinchaladze added.
The lawyers declined to discuss details of Abdaladze’s confession statement. His another lawyer, Merab Chikovani, said that his confession triggered some questions, which the lawyers wanted to ask their client, but Abdaladze declined to answer citing “that he was tired.”
The Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office said in a brief statement, that Giorgi Abdaladze was interrogated by investigators in presence of his lawyers on July 16.
“The society will be provided with additional information about contents of the interrogation and about other details of the investigation on Monday [July 18],” the Chief Prosecutor’s Office said.
Abdaladze’s confession statement was videotaped, according to his lawyers; the statement by the Chief Prosecutor’s Office seems to be an indication that the recorded confession statement might be released via television stations on Monday.
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, Zurab Kurtsikidze, photographer for the Frankfurt-based European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) and Irakli Gedenidze, President Saakashvili’s personal photographer were arrested on July 7 and charged with espionage.
Gedenidze gave videotaped confession statement to the police, released via television stations on July 9; the police released in early hours of July 9 his wife, Natia Gedenidze, also a photojournalist, who was arrested into the same case; later on July 9 the court said Natia Gedenidze was released on bail.
Reports have also emerged that Zurab Kurtsikidze also gave confession statement, but his lawyers have declined to either confirm or deny the report.
Giorgi Abdaladze’s confession statement was a surprise for his lawyers and probably for many others following the case, because he has been resolutely stating since the arrest that he was innocent and was not going to give any confession statement. He has sent via his lawyers number of written statements to the press saying that he would fight for the truth “till the end”.