“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

 

Print
Other Stories
Czech Ambassador: “Georgia among the best countries worldwide when it comes to combating Covid 19”
"Czech contribution in monitoring COVID-19 in Georgia was invaluable and hugely important” - Georgia’s Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze praised the Czech Republic’s contribution during Friday meeting with the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Georgia, H.E. Petr Mikyska as the Georgian and Czech sides met to discuss various aspects of joint collaboration.
Russian MFA Statement About Lugar Research Center-Another Disinformation
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia responds to the statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry regarding Lugar's laboratory.
UN Human Rights Council Adopts Resolution On Occupied Territories Of Georgia
The UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the occupied territories of Georgia - "Cooperation with Georgia" within the framework of its 43rd session.
Kurt Volker about 20th of June: People Can’t Forget That
Given that one year has passed since June 20, 2019, it is interesting to see how the West assesses the developments in Georgia during this one year and what expectations it has for the October parliamentary elections.
Eastern Partnership Beyond 2020- Context and Expectations
The Eastern Partnership (EaP) marked its 10th anniversary in 2019. The round dates always come with reflections and new resolutions for the future.
"8 March Agreement Is Very important For Georgian Democracy"-Carl Hartzell
The 8th March agreement concerned not only the change in the electoral system but justice and the impermissibility of political partiality in electoral processes, - stated the Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, Carl Hartzell during his video broadcast.
Donald Trump Congratulates Georgia on Independence Day
The President of the United States of America Donald Trump sent a letter of congratulations to the Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia on Independence Day.
US Ambassador Congratulating Georgia on the Independence Day
US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan has congratulated Georgia on the Independence Day.
Georgia's President Warns Covid-19 Crisis Could Trigger Russian Aggression
Georgia’s president has warned that Russia’s struggle to contain the spread of coronavirus and an economic crisis compounded by an oil price collapse risk is triggering new Kremlin aggression beyond its borders, - reads an article published by Financial Times.
Creation of Maps Violating Georgia's Territorial Integrity To be Considered Illegal
Production, advertising, use, and transportation of maps and other objects reflecting the violation of the principle of territorial integrity of Georgia will be considered as an illegal act.
Turkey Starts Accepting Health Tourists From Georgia
Turkey has started accepting foreign patients from several countries, including from Georgia.
Georgia Has The Greatest Support In the World From EU-Carl Hartzell
A true friend is known to be in trouble, and we have proved that we are true friends, ”-EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzel said during an online meeting with members of the European Business Association.
The EU Council Has Approved a Package of Financial Assistance to Georgia
The Council of the European Union (EU) has approved a package of emergency macro-financial assistance for 10 countries as part of its Neighborhood and Enlargement Policy.
The US Ambassador Stresses The Importance of Fair Judiciary System
We would like to see more American companies invest in Georgia and more Georgian companies in the United States said US Ambassador Kelly Degnan during a virtual press conference.
"One More Political Prisoner Is Still Waiting To Be Released"-McAllister
The MEPs expressed their opinions about the political situation in Georgia at the discussion of the report on the implementation of the Association Agreement between the EU and Georgia.
Promoting Georgia As a Safe Destination For Tourism
“Georgia – a safe destination” is a message that Georgian diplomats should send to people in their countries, - Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said while talking to Georgian ambassadors abroad via a video conference today.
UN To Allocate USD 1 Million To Support COVID-19 Crisis in Georgia
The United Nations will allocate USD 1 million for Georgia to help the country better respond to the immediate health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and protect the most vulnerable groups from the devastating socio-economic impacts of the health crisis.
U.S. Senators Express Concern Over The Expulsion of American Businesses From Georgia
U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, Congressmen Judy Arrington, and Markwayne Mullin have written to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, expressing concern over the expulsion of U.S. companies and businesses from Georgia.
European Parliament Approves €150 Million Aid For Georgia
The European Parliament on Friday approved €3 billion in loans to help EU neighbors and partner countries deal with the fallout of COVID-19.
MEPs and U.S Senators Welcome the Pardon of Opposition Politicians
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili announced yesterday that she was pardoning Georgian opposition politicians Gigi Ugulava and Irakli Okruashvili, which she said was ‘a very difficult decision’.
The Presidency of the Council of Europe of Georgia Received a High Assessment
According to the Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, the presidency of the Council of Europe of Georgia had a very high assessment at the international level.
Coronavirus Crisis is an Opportunity to Deepen Relations With the EU-Salome Zourabichvili
The President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili talked to the President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö on March 14.
Greece to Take Over On Georgia's Chairmanship of CoE Committee of Ministers
The Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will officially be transferred from Georgia to Greece today.
Disinformation and COVID-19
In an era of COVID-19 disinformation is becoming a tool for some states as a political leverage. Political scientist Giorgi Gobronidze explains why the issue matters.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
12.07.2020
13.07.2020
USD
1
USD
3.0624
3.0624
EUR
1
EUR
3.4593
3.4593
GBP
1
GBP
3.8617
3.8617
RUB
100
RUB
4.3016
4.3016
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
USD
1
USD
3.0624
EUR
1
EUR
3.4593
GBP
1
GBP
3.8617
RUB
100
RUB
4.3016
July 2020
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