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Patriarchate responds to leak of private life videos

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, March 23
The Patriarchate of Georgia has released a statement regarding the disclosure of video footage showing the private lives of various public officials and politicians.

The Church of Georgia believes such acts “serve evil purposes”, and are crimes both against the individuals and the country.

"With regards to the recent developments in the state, we declare that we condemn the recording and release of any video showing private lives, and we consider that such actions serve evil purposes and are crimes both against certain individuals and the country,” the Patriarchate said.

The Patriarchate also noted that the Christian world, as well as all the traditional religions, would protect and bless relationships and love only between legitimate spouses and considers all other types of intimate relations totally unacceptable.

“As for repentance, the church accepts all repentant people with love,” the statement says.

Hundreds of videos reflecting the private lives of Georgian citizens were illegally taped and stored by the previous United National Movement (UNM) government to blackmail people.

The majority of videos were publicly destroyed by the current Government in 2013 after the Georgian Dream coalition defeated the UNM in the 2012 elections, but some of the videos that were saved ostensibly to help any future investigations.

Since 2014, several videos of a sexual nature have been released on the Internet; one such incident resulted in the dismissal of a Deputy Interior Minister under the current Government was fired.

The latest leaks took place on March 11-14.

One video released on YouTube on March 11 allegedly showing an opposition party leader caused a stir in Georgia and significant public backlash.

About 135 people watched the footage online before law enforcers contacted YouTube's administration and blocked the video, reported local media.

On March 14, another video similar in content appeared on Youtube, but it was immediately blocked.

On March 15 the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia charged five people for keeping this type of illegal videos but the agency did not specify whether these people were responsible for the leak of the two videos.

Government members and Georgian Dream coalition representatives said the leak of the videos was "an attack on the Government” and many believed the UNM were responsible, as it is possible that UNM members till possess copies of illegally obtained surveillance videos,

However, the UNM claimed the Government and law enforcers were to blame for leaking the videos.

The leader of the Free Democrats party, Irakli Alasania, alleged there was one group within the current Government that was not controlled by Prime Minister Kvirikashvili who were responsible for spreading the videos. Alasania claimed this group was ruled by Georgian Dream founder and former Prime Minsiter Bidzina Ivanishvili.