“I will walk out of here either dead or alive but righteous!”
14 July, 2011
“I will walk out of here either dead or alive but righteous!”


Photo reporter Giorgi Abdaladze talks about the reason behind his detention

“On 28 or 29 May, State Guards Service phoned me and requested that I should deliver all my 26 May event photos to them. That moment I did not take it seriously. I replied that I deleted all of them. Probably I should have understood by then that the story about the photos would have a sequel.


After my detainment, I have been in search of a clue behind the arrest

of our five photo reporters, what it was that linked all of us and irritated haigh ranking officials so much that incurred their wrath on us. It’s a fact that our arrests were ordered by no one else but President Mikheil Saakashvili because even his personal reporter Irakli Gedenidze shared our fate. Apparently, no one would dare to do it without the exclusive sanction of the President.

All of us must have enraged Saakashvili. All of us must have done something that amounted to a slap in his face. As the lawyers tell me, some people think our arrests may be linked to a photo of a specific high ranking official. In reality, I have never taken such a photo. If something like that has ever accidentally occurred, I would instantly remove it. So, I would not have showed it to anyone, let alone the question of spreading it. I never shuffled through private lives. So, I cannot link my detention to scandalous private photos.

I am sure that I and my colleagues were arrested in connection to the 26 May photos solely. Here is why: firstly, I have not taken any scandalous photos after the August war. Even the photos of the war should not frustrate Saakashvili. Instead, all the war pictures describe the anatomy of Russian aggression, one of them having travelled around the global press. On 26 May (the day of the crackdown on and killing of four demonstrators) we took pictures which clearly showed punishment of population. Associated Press placed two of those pictures on its web site. These pictures then were used by a number of European and American newspapers and magazines.

Zura Kurtsikidze, Shakh Aivazov, the France Press and Reuters photo reporters too took and shared scandalous pictures. I should however admit that the best pictures came from Irakli Gedenidze. He arrived to the 26 May rally together with Special Forces and was best positioned for photographing because the law enforcers knew he was the personal photographer of the President. So, no one confronted him during photographing. Irakli took a telling picture of a man killed by the Special Forces. Later he sold this photo to Zura Kurtsikidze who spread it via the European Pressphoto Agency. There the photo did not have an indication of authorship but any photo reporter knew it was made by Irakli.

Our photos travel around the whole world and press of many countries, where Mikheil Saakashvili proudly presents the image of himself as a champion of democracy. He did not forgive us that we spoiled the image and that we showed him as a leader of the bloody regime to everyone. The Former Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze was tabling these very photos in her European missions. That is why Saakashvili decided to punish us. It’s just he could not touch the photo reporters of Reuters and France Press because these agencies run official representations in Georgia and detention of their photo reporters would have created an international scandal. Still, they miscalculated aarresting Shakh Aivazov. He belongs to the Moscow office of the Associated Press. Hence, the American Embassy instantly inquired about his fate. As for me, I am a freelancer working on Associated Press. Even so, I heard that the American Embassy learnt about my detention belatedly.

I also heard that the American Ambassador himself took a strong interest in the Shakh Aivazov’s issue. He was going to make an emergency statement but they freed him. The Embassy learnt about my detention only from the public statement of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Though, Shakh had an advantage compared with me. He was a regular employee of the Associated Press, while I was not.

Saakashvili decided to give us an exemplary punishment so that other photo reporters working in Georgia and highlighting events unfolding here understand the risks. No one touched those photo reporters who work on local newspapers and magazines. Yet, our detainment was a sign to them too. The entire media received a warning: I will do anything, I can kill people if I desire so, and you have not gotten any right to speak up about these facts. Saakashvili has already been convinced that he got all the rights, even including that of killing and torturing people. Currently, he is obsessed with spy-pathy. Whoever calls him about his real face is an enemy of state.

In short, I, Irakli Gedenidze, Shakh Aivazov and Zura Kurtsikidze fell victims of the 26 May pictures. As for the arrest of Natia Gedenidze, they wanted her to forcibly retrieve non-existent confessions from Irakli. Even though Irakli signed under absurd confessions against both his own self and us and talked nonsense, I understand and pity him. I am sure they managed to get Irakli talk whatever they wanted thanks to the factor of Natia. Their two children would have been left without a single caretaker. There was no other way left for them. I knew it the moment I heard that they both were arrested. After all, I did hope Irakli would withstand the pressure. But he could not. He faltered and abandoned us to save his family.

Saakashvili order our arrests on 26 May but they waited for some time. Otherwise everyone would have easily understood the reason behind the arrests. So, Saakashvili stayed off for a while. At work, no one had reprimanded Irakli Gedenidze about the pictures of the dead rally activists. But everyone in the Presidential press service knew about this fact. I know it from Irakli. In this short time of suspension, Saakashvili had MIA Head Vano Metrabishvili concoct the faked case against us. They invented a fantasy, an absurd scenario and accused us of spying.

All in all, by imprisoning us Saakashvili warned free media: if you choose to challenge me I would send tax officers to swarm you, close you and, if need be, have you arrested on charges of state treason.

I am innocent and being punished for telling the truth. Therefore I approach Saakashvili right here:

Mr Mikheil,

I am in detention on your personal order. I try to guess what made you irritated and why you decided to punish us. You know it very well that no one of us has done anything wrong. We were doing our professional job. Is it the reason of our punishment?

Mr Mikheil! I said once and will repeat it. I will give my life to justice and freedom of speech. I will walk out of here either dead or alive but righteous! It is this move that will wake up the Georgian media, international community and our people. I am right!!! I have not done anything in my life to harm my country!!! You know it very well!!!

Giorgi Abdaladze


Other Stories
Judges that served the violent regime of Saakashvili should not be in the Supreme Court, says Eka Beselia
Eka Beselia, a member of the parliamentary majority, held a press conference in the Parliament today.
Possible confrontation within the Georgian Dream Party?
Eka Beselia, a member of the ruling party, will hold a news conference in the Parliament at 12:00 today.
13 dead from swine flu in Georgia, emergency treatment to be free for all
13 people died from swine flu in Georgia so far, but there is no risk of epidemy, says Georgian Minister of Health.
Georgian president Salome Zurabishvili not ready for launching diplomatic dialogue with Russia
I'm not ready to give any advice to the legislative body about the launch of the diplomatic relations or dialogue with Russia
Georgia suffering the steepest drop in democratic quality in eastern Europe
According to the statistics for the Democracy Index 2018, published by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU),
“Let’s see if you can wrestle with women”- Interior minister to the opposition
Female Police officers were mobilized in front of the Gurjaani District Court where the case of Davit Kirkitadze, the member of the United Opposition was considered.
Georgian citizens can apply for temporary residency in France
150 permits for young specialists as well as additional 500 permits will be granted each year to go to work to France.
Numbers of Georgians seeking asylum in Germany has significantly decreased
According to Ambassador of Georgia to Germany Elguja Khokrishvili, the drop of asylum requests has been due to recently taken steps.
U.S. Congress supports Georgia with a new bill
Unanimously the U.S. approved the act, which calls for imposing sanctions on Russian actors for the commission of serious human rights abuses in the occupied Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
‘Horn wrestling’ between opposition party leader and police chef
Yesterday on the 16th of December, clashes occurred between Nika Melia, leader of the United National Movement and Teimuraz Kupatadze, head of patrol police department in the village of Velistsikhe, Kakheti region (eastern part of Georgia).
Salome Zourabichvili officially becomes the fifth president of Georgia
The inauguration ceremony of president-elect Salome Zourabichvili took place in Telavi, Kakheti (eastern region of Georgia) on the 16th of December.
Fight erupt in paliament between Georgian MPs during session
Verbal and physical confrontation has occurred between MPs in the parliament.
Famous Georgians invited at the Inauguration of Salome Zourabichvili
The inauguration ceremony of president elect Salome Zourabishvili will be held in Telavi, Kakheti (eastern region of Georgia) on the 16th of December.
Exclusive interview with Lincoln Mitchell, American political analyst and Georgia expert
More than 20,000 people responded to the appeal of the opposition and gathered in front of the former parliament building in downtown Tbilisi last Sunday.
The after-pains of the presidential election in Georgia
Yesterday evening, at a meeting with his supporters in the Philharmonic Hall, the defeated candidate Grigol Vashadze made it clear that he didn’t recognize the result of the presidential elections and called for early parliamentary elections.
National democratic institute publishes their findings about the presidential elections in Georgia
A delegation of the National Democratic Institute, which included observers from five countries, analyzed the election process.
International media about the runoff presidential elections in Georgia
Although it didn’t hit the headlines, newspapers and broadcast around the world report about Salome Zurabishvili as the first woman who became president in Georgia.
100% of the ballot counted: Salome Zourabichvili wins
Yesterday on the 28th of November, the second round of the presidential election took place in Georgia.
Salome Zurabishvili was elected as president of Georgia
According to the CEC, Central Election Committee of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili, an independent candidate endorsed by the ruling Georgian Dream Party, received 59.61 percent of votes.
Preliminary results of runoff election for president in Georgia and clashes in Marneuli
Preliminary results for runoff election for president in Georgia have been announced.
Exit polls say Salome Zurabishvili won runoff election for president in Georgia
Runoff elections for president are over in Georgia. Voting booths were closed at 8 pm Tbilisi time. Some exit polls have already been published.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs about the shooting in Chumlaki
Today on the 28th of November, the second round of the presidential election takes place in Georgia.
Second round of presidential elections in Georgia
Georgians head to the polls for a runoff election for president. The first round was held on the 28th of October,
The 15th Anniversary of Georgia’s Rose Revolution
15 years ago, in 2003, the rose revolution took place in Georgia.
Unprecedented move by Cartu Group to nullify debts for 600 000 Georgian citizens
The Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze announced on the 19th of November that the bank debt of over 600,000 Georgian citizens, including those on a so-called ‘Black List’ will be annulled.

Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange
January 2019
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31