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Abdaladze says his career as a photojournalist is over

By Mzia Kupunia
Tuesday, July 26
Giorgi Abdaladze, one of the photojournalists, found guilty of espionage for Russia and released on conditional term of four years last week, has said his career as a photojournalist is over. In an exclusive interview to the Kviris Palitra weekly newspaper, Abdaladze a freelance photographer of the Foreign Ministry of Georgia and a photo reporter of the Alia newspaper said that from now on he can only shoot photos at birthday and wedding parties. “How can I cover political press conferences or rallies?” Abdaladze told the Kviris Palitra.

According to the former detainee, at some point he was suicidal. “There was a moment when I thought about cutting my veins. Eka Beselia [Abdaladze’s lawyer] was telling me that the media and the society was supporting me and was telling me not to give up,” he said. Abdaladze described living in jail as “very difficult.” “In a cell I was listening to the fellow detainee and to the Radio. You had to move the antennae in a certain position and hold it with your hand to listen to Radio Palitra. I was standing with my hands up and was listening to the news about me… Then I was falling back to the bed. My life has changed. This was the second [difficulty] after Tskhinvali. God forbid, I will not be able to withstand more, despite the fact that I thought I was strong,” he said.

When asked about inconsistencies with the dates in his confession testimony, Abdaladze said that he had asked the investigators to check the dates. “Seems that they were very happy that I agreed [to give a confession testimony] and hurried to release the tape,” Abdaladze noted.

Meanwhile the Foreign Ministry officials have said the Ministry will overlook security norms and find the shortcomings which led to the leakage of sensitive information from the Ministry. According to the authorities the law enforcers found list of Georgian citizens working for the European Council, the OSCE and the UN structures and transcripts of the meetings of the Georgian Prime Minister, the President and the Foreign Minister with the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan as a result of a search at Abdaladze’s house.

Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, Nino Kalandadze denied reports that some of the employees of the Foreign Ministry, responsible for the safety of the sensitive information allegedly leaked by Abdaladze might be arrested. “I do not confirm the information that the issue of responsibility of someone else might be discussed. At this point there are no signs of the responsibility of other persons, however the security measures will be overlooked,” she said.

Kalandadze told reporters on Monday that Abdaladze “has no chances” to return to the Foreign Ministry, citing the Georgian legislation which forbids hiring convicts at state institutions.