Following the photographers’ case, Georgian Foreign Ministry will “naturally tighten” measures for protecting the ministry’s confidential documents from unauthorized access, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, Nino Kalandadze, said.
Giorgi Abdaladze, a freelance photojournalist who was also working on contract with the Foreign Ministry taking photos of various events at the ministry, was among the photographers arrested and charged with espionage for Russia. On July 22 four photojournalists were found guilty and released after receiving conditional sentences based on plea agreements reached with the prosecution.
The prosecution claimed that Abdaladze obtained minutes of a meeting between Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and the Georgian leadership. In his videotaped confession statement Abdaladze, who was asked by one of his lawyers how he managed to obtain this secret document, he said that under the pretext that his computer was not working and was not able to copy photos, he was able to gain access to another computer in the Foreign Ministry from where he managed to obtain the document.
Speaking at a regular Monday press conference on July 25, Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze said that that the ministry “is studying possible shortcomings, which might have been in place” in terms of protecting confidential documents. She, however, ruled out holding any of the ministry’s employees responsible.
“I do not confirm reports that the issue of responsibility may be raised in respect of any person. Generally, after… such facts, the security measures are usually being revised and naturally, the Foreign Ministry will further tighten such measures,” Kalandadze said.