Georgian journalist says he spied for Russia

Freelancer Giorgi Abdaladze, EPA photographer Zurab Kurtsikidze and former Georgian Presidential photographer Irakli Gedenidze

From Misha Dzhindzhikhaahvili, the AP:  The personal photographer to the Georgian president was shown on television Saturday confessing to supplying a colleague with secret information that was then sent to a Russian secret service.

Irakli Gedenidze confessed to giving another photographer, Zurab Kurtsikidze of the European Pressphoto Agency, details of the president’s itinerary, motorcade route and offices for unspecified remuneration. His wife Natia said she knew her husband was friends with Kurtsikidze and sent him the details of his bank account, but she did not confess to taking part in their dealings.

Irakli Gedenidze, Kurtsikidze and photographer Georgy Abdaladze were charged with espionage early Saturday. Natia Gedenidze was accused of abetting espionage and was released on bail, according to a statement from the Georgian government late Saturday.

Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Georgy Bukhrashvili told reporters Saturday that investigators believe Kurtsikidze had "connections" with Russia’s military intelligence unit, GRU, and hired the other two photographers to provide the secret information. . . .

Bukhrashvili said the two men had taken pictures of the secret documents and then sent them to Kurtsikidze to dispatch to Moscow. The photographs were found in the two men’s apartments, he said. The Georgian government said Kurtsikidze had contacts with two Russians, Anatoly Sinitsin and Sergei Okrokov, who are wanted for espionage.

The government said investigators found classified images on the computers of Kurtsikidze, Gedenidze and Abdaladze including floor plans of the Presidential Palace and information about the president’s itinerary, visits and meetings. . . .

Several people have been convicted recently by Georgian courts on charges of spying for Russia. In the most recent such ruling late Wednesday, a court in the Black Sea port of Batumi convicted a Russian citizen and eight Georgians of espionage and gave them prison sentences ranging from 11 to 14 years.  (photo: Reuters)

Image: reuters%207%2010%2011%20Georgia%20photographers%20spying.jpg