Photo correspondent detained for alleged spying
14 July, 2011
Photo correspondent detained for alleged spying


“Every journalist of us must go to the Constitutional Security Department to confess we all are spies”

I was stunned to learn that my friend and colleague Giorgi Abdaladze was arrested on the spying allegation. It was revealed that together with other detainees he was supplying information to an intelligence service of a certain country.

Alleged spying of photo reporter Giorgi Abdaladze surprised me more than an accusation of trying to dig a Bombay-London tunnel. I went to all lengths to imagine my friend as a spy but failed. I saw him three weeks prior to the day of his arrest. The 26 May wounds were still healing. Giorgi too was coughing. He said it started that night. He was telling me the story of his poisoning with tear gas and how he intuitively found his way to Kashweti Church with his eyes and mouth shut. Only there he put on the gas mask he was carrying in his pocket.


When he came to senses, he set up the photographic camera and returned to the scene. He could not have done otherwise. He had to be at every hot spot, where you need courage to do the job. He did not change during the last 12 years since the day when I started working on Media Palitra Holding and got to know him. Very soon after our befriending, Giorgi suffered from severe head and face bruises caused by the truncheons of Shevardnadze’s execution forces headed by Temur Mghebrishvili. Next, he turned up in a Tskhinvali prison after he tried to fulfill his professional duty in Ergneti. Only interference of Media Palitra Management saved him from prison.

During our last meeting before his arrest, Giorgi was recalling the early night events of 26 May: “We, reporters of the state structures did a good job. The Special Forces were not interfering. We were recording everything.” May be today somebody is bashing his head against the wall for the fault of giving green light to reporters of state structures.

We, at the Media Palitra nicknamed him “Paparazzi” for his hunch and sharp eye. So, when I try to imagine Paparazzi as a spy, what strikes my mind is an odd thing. It’s his photos of Gori bombing and other August war episodes. These photos travelled around the globe familiarizing everybody in the world with the violent August events in Georgia. Giorgi was risking his life when he took

them. Any moment he could have become a target of enemy. Yet, he never stepped back because Georgia needed it. Why or how can a man be a spy if he loves his or her homeland? Convince me if you can! Otherwise, I will interpret his arrest as another stark warning to all of us – journalists, and I will view myself as the next victim tomorrow!

According to the lawyer of Gia Abdaladze, he is accused of harming the interests of Georgia, supplying all kinds of information to a certain organization which was working under the intelligence services of one of the countries. The case is classified. It foresees imprisonment from 8 to 12 years; but why, for doing what?

P.S. Here is a solution: all independent journalists must go to the Constitutional Security Department and confess that we are spies, and that we were transferring photos and messages to foreign information agencies, even talking to them on the phone. These all make us perfectly legal targets of spying accusations. Can they arrest all of us then? Cannot we alleviate the situation of our colleagues at least in this way?


Other Stories
The women who transformed Ukraine’s police force - Quartz about Georgia's former deputy Interior Minister
At the end of 2014, Ekaterine Zguladze was assigned a task many had thought unrealistic: Implement police reforms
‘The Georgian government has achieved important human rights progress over the past few years’ – Giorgi Kvirikahsivli
On 10 November 2015, within the framework of the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review
The Gazprom Deal – A Conflict of Interests?
Azeri media is currently abuzz with news of President Ilham Aliyev’s recent visit to Georgia and talks about political
“My role is to point out what the stakes are” - Ian Kelly
Exclusive interview with the Ambassador of the United States to Georgia
Making a Choice: Flirtation with Moscow and Georgia’s Multi-vector Foreign Policy
Donald N. Jensen is a resident fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations in the Nitze School
“If the channel goes to be from being highly critical to even being neutral or worse – pro-government…”- US Ambassador on Rustavi 2 TV case
“If the opposition loses access to this TV station, or if the channel goes to be from being highly critical
Georgian President offers sympathy to French people
The President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili has offered sympathy to the French President
US Ambassador visits Palitra Media
US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly visited Palitra Media
“The government seems to have circumvented the legal process” - Freedom House VP on Rustavi 2 Case
Freedom House urges the Georgian government to end its interference with the media
Why do the government’s wages grow fatter every year?
According to the 2016 budget plan, next year the government’s salaries will increase by 57 million.
Fear and Loathing in Tbilisi: Georgian Politics Threaten its Democracy
Now might be a good time for Caucasus-watchers to pop some popcorn, because the run-up to
The Gordian Knot of Rustavi 2
The legal and political battle over the Rustavi 2 TV company continues
“Granting women and men same rights enriches our society” - Federica Mogherini
Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission
Court Wrongly Fires Rustavi-2 Executives - Freedom House
In response to the Tbilisi City Court dismissing the management of television channel Rustavi-2 and the immediate
“This is how we defeat poverty” - Exclusive interview with János Herman, EU ambassador to Georgia
The five-year-long European Neighborhood Program for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) was launched
Attempts to change the management of the station have profound political implications - U.S. Ambassador
U.S. Ambassador Ian Kelly has released a statement regarding the November 5 developments related to Rustavi 2.
US and Georgia working together for healthier future
Below are given some of the less known facts and statements by various U.S. officials that were made during
Dreaming of a Revolution
Dreaming of a Revolution
The Georgian-Ukrainian Audio Scandal
Georgia’s ambassador to the United States sends letter to The Washington Post editors
Archil Gegeshidze, Georgia’s ambassador to the United States, addressed The Washington Post
Ukrainian website releases scandalous recording of alleged conversations between Saakashvili, Gvaramia, Bokeria
Ukrainian website has released an alleged audio tape of conversations
At stake: Freedom of Media or Hidden Agendas?
“The ends justify the means”. Niccolo Machiavelli
Gazprom & Georgia Talks – Is the EU Involved?
American Experts on Negotiations with Gazprom
“The whole case really does kind of stink of political games” - Ex-President of Freedom House on Rustavi 2 Case
Ia Meurmishvili of the Voice of America’s Georgian Service invited Mr. David Kramer, a Senior Director for Human Rights
Nearing Endspiel!
Nearing Endspiel!
Tempers are flaring around Giorgi Margvelashvili’s stay in the presidential residence yet again – the former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili
GEL Exchange
Other Stories
The Georgian President and his wife are on a state visit to Israel. Giorgi Magvelashvili and the First Lady, together
Koba Subeliani, a member of the National Movement party and the parliamentary minority
According to Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, the Georgian side will take part in the UN peacekeeping mission.
Asked about whether Georgia and Russia are moving towards a repeat of the war in 2008
The U.S. Department of State has released a video in which the new U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly addresses Georgians
Governor of Odessa district Mikheil Saakashvili was seen sitting in a police car’s trunk.
Youtube Channel NATO has published a video about the situation in South Ossetia.
Nato has often seemed to lack purpose, but Kosovo and Afghanistan gave the alliance a second wind at the end of the 20th
Sandra Roelofs, the former First Lady of Georgia, has visited Mikheil Saaksahvili, the ex-president of Georgia and Odessa’s new governor
Ukraine’s top leaders watched as the capital’s new traffic police force underwent its passing out ceremony in Kyiv