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Georgia: NGO activists offer to bail out arrested photographers

Jul 14 2011, 17:00

In Georgia the human rights activists plan to start collecting signatures on a petition for bailing out three photographers accused of espionage for Russia. The initiative was announced by Nino Tsikhistavi, the head of the NGO "Network of Caucasian Women" at the meeting with independent Georgian MPs.

"We propose to submit a petition for release on bail of the detained photographers, which will be signed by many prominent public figures. We also believe that the human rights activists should draw up a document making the assessment of the situation; and we will introduce it to our foreign colleagues," said Nino Tsikhistavi.

At the meeting MPs and human rights activists agreed on the need for a meeting with representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in Georgia and civil society. The need for serious judicial monitoring and active intervention of the Ombudsman was also mentioned. Furthermore, the oppositional MPs once more raised the issue on establishing the parliamentary investigatory commission to investigate the facts of pressure on journalists.

Journalist Dmitry Tikaradze, who attended the meeting, believes that photographers were filed a false accusation. The real reason for detention is the resentment of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili against his personal photographer, who shot the dispersal of the opposition rally on May 26.

"Irakli Gedenidze got the best shots from the dispersal of the opposition rally. Since everybody knew that he was a photographer of President, he was allowed to locate next to the special troops and he found a very good view for making photos. Then these photographs were given to international agencies. President Saakashvili considered this shooting as treachery and did not forgive Irakli Gedenidze," the reporter says.

See earlier reports: "About one hundred people took part in an action of protest of journalists and human righs activists in Tbilisi", "Protest actions against detention of journalists held in Tbilisi", "Tbilisi court leaves photographers accused of spying in custody".

Author: Inna Kukudzhanova; Source: CK correspondent

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