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Aleksei Venediktov: “There Are Many Contradictory Allegations in Public Statements of MIA about Photo-Reporters’ Case”

11.07.2011
There are many contradictory allegations in public statements of the MIA in regard with the so-called photo-reporters’ case. Editor-In-Chief of the Radio “Ekho Maskvi” Aleksei Venediktov stated during his meeting with Georgian journalists.

“It is a pity that I talked with the Minister of Interior before the case about the photo-reporters launched. I am sure, you are fully aware that I could not avoid talking about this case not because they are accused of espionage for Russia, but because they are my colleagues. The case is Top Secret. First of all, there is presumption of innocence both in Georgia and Russia; on the other hand – many allegations in the public statements of the MIA do not coincide with each other. I watched the audio-recordings of phone conversations several times: in one of them, the alleged spy is asking the second to create bank account. It is nonsense because it only proves transfer of the money from one to another bank-account. I would like to remind everybody that last year, when American authority disclosed a Russian spy network, the accused people were giving money to each other side in cases and never used bank accounts not to leave traces behind them. Here, these people had bank accounts; apparently the state intelligence department has mixed up everything; maybe, those people even paid income tax for that money,” said Venediktov.

However, editor of the Ekho Maskvi does not exclude possibility that the detainees are really spies. “I can speak only about the part of the evidence that was open. Maybe, there is some evidence in the closed part of case materials, which prove their espionage; but for an ordinary observer there are many contradictory allegations in that case. Just see, they released the wife and 30 minutes later the husband made a confession statement at 2:00 am. I am sorry but the confession statement has not been the evidence worldwide for a long time; particularly, when the wife is hostage. I repeat again, those people might really be spies, but according to published materials, the situation is very obscure. I think, our colleagues should ask questions instead transmitting the statements of the MIA directly; that is what we should do,” said Venediktov.

He added that every state has spies and it is part of state administration.

“We always had spies and will always have in Georgia; you also had spies in Russia and will continue doing it in future too; it is completely normal situation. Here you have American, British and other spies too. It is state administration. We will also arrest about 20 spies of Georgia in Sochi… And pay attention, the court hearing was scheduled for September 1; have you, guys already finished investigation? Maybe you will need the trial on October 1? They compelled the lawyers and the wife of the detainee to sign the document on Top Secret; is the case of high public interest? I am asking you; we ask these questions in Russia when similar cases are launched there. We do not have replies; we have only questions,” said the chief editor of the Ekho Maskvi.

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