„They Could Not Identify the Country For Which I Spied”
Zaza Tsuladze, Voice of America, Tbilisi
Five years later, former chief advisor-consultant for the media and public relation service at the President Saakashvili’s Administration Simon Kiladze stated that the MIA arrested him for the fabricated accusation and the investigation could not identify the country for which he spied in Georgia; Kiladze was convicted for espionage and high treason in 2006. On March 28, 2008, the public servant was arrested in his working room in the state chancellery; he was accused of espionage. TV-Companies screened his confession statement too. Minister of Interior Merabishvili said Kiladze was sending secret information about Saakashvili to a foreign embassy. The accused for the espionage was released in 2007 based on the plea-agreement under five-year conditional sentence which expires in two months.
“They were alleging that I had materials which I gave to certain people but the investigation materials did not identify the personalities of those people. They were alleging that I had some secret documents about high-ranking officials. I was ordinary public official in the administration who had no access to secret materials. I mostly shared the online information, materials from press, TV or other media outlets. It was famous fact and the US Embassy in Georgia also confirmed that I was sending analytic digest of the Georgian media to them. Of course, I included negative information about the government in my digests and I think, it was one of the reasons of my imprisonment. I will never forget March 28, 2006, 9:40 am, I was called to the head of the president’s administration by a special phone; he praised me for having implemented my duties perfectly and gave a special instruction which I had to implement on time and very carefully. Everybody will be pleased with such a reference from the chief. I went to my room, sat at my computer and five minutes later they entered together with correspondents, TV-journalists and told me that I was arrested! Of course it was real shock for me, like a thunder on a cloudless sky!”
Simon Kiladze’s charge-sheet states that “there are notes discovered collected by Kiladze and then sent by electronic mail in order to transfer it to the foreign country. The notes concern the strategic interests of Georgian state, information on high state officials of Georgia and foreign officials holding high political posts visiting Georgia which can stipulate the results of interstate negotiations and the tactics of concrete negotiations; also information on the defensive objects which include data containing state secret.” Simon Kiladze expressed doubt that this famous case of photographers which is the most well-known topic in Georgia is very much like his case. On June 6th, the MIA detained the correspondent of European Press Photo Agency (EPA) Zurab Kurtsikidze, a photo correspondent of the newspaper Alia and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Giorgi Abdaladze, Irakli Gedenidze, private photographer of President Saakashvili, his wife a photo correspondent of the newspaper Prime Time Natia Gedenidze and the photo correspondent of Associated Press Shakh Aivazov. According to the non-official information, Shakh Aivazov has been released after the insisting pressure from the US. Natia Gedenidze was released under bail after her husband Irakli Gedenidze confessed the espionage. Kurtsikidze and Abdaladze do not acknowledge the crime and call this case a fabricated case. Abdaladze has been on dry hunger strike since the day of arrest. Simon Kiladze states:
“My arrest coincided with the Girgvliani murder case when the anxiety was increasing and the protest rallies started. A day before my arrest a prison mutiny took place where people died. They are trying to cover up another issue. If we draw a parallel, we can say that we are facing the same situation. Why? What did these people do to be imposed with charge of espionage and state betrayal?! Here as well they are trying to cover up another issue, namely issue of Orthodox Church. They saw sharp reaction from the Church and society and I think they tried to cover up this issue with this imprisonment and the church-related issue stepped back. It should be noted that Gedenidze worked in the Press Service of the President when I worked.”
Simon Kiladze’s case was the first case of espionage in the newest history of Georgia. Since the March of 2006 the Ministry of Internal Affairs opened a lot of such cases. For understandable reasons, Kiladze does not say how the MIA obtained the confession testimony from him. According to unofficial information, he was threatened that they would revenge against his child.
Simon Kiladze does the same job he did before the arrest. He does a press digest for different international organizations. We could not get a comment from the MIA regarding Simon Kiladze’s scandalous commentary.
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