Russia granted pre-term release to two Georgian citizens who were convicted on espionage charges and sentenced to lengthy prison terms, Georgian PM’s special representative for relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, said on February 5.
Abashidze said that the two persons, whom he did not identify, were arrested by Russia after the August, 2008 war and sentenced to eight and nine years in prison.
“They have been released by Russia and they are already in Georgia with their families. We are now working to achieve release of several other Georgian citizens who are arrested in Russia on these [espionage] charges,” Abashidze said without specifying number of Georgian citizens remaining held in Russia.
He said that the Georgian authorities were “not making PR” out of this serious issue and were refraining from responding to political opponents’ criticism.
When Georgian Parliament recognized several persons, serving prison terms in Georgia on espionage charges, as political prisoners and released them in January 2013, the government was slammed by UNM opposition party, which was saying that if the authorities wanted to release Russian spies, they should have done it in exchange of release of Georgian citizens convicted in Russia for espionage charges.