Detention of Georgian president's photographer unfortunate: official

10:31, July 13, 2011      

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The Georgian presidential press service on Tuesday said the detention of President Mikhail Saakashvili's personal photographer was an unfortunate incident.

Irakli Gedenidze, photographer for the presidential press service, was detained last week by the Interior Ministry for allegedly spying for Russia.

Manana Manjgaladze, spokeswoman for the Georgian presidential press service, told reporters that the detention was "shocking" and a serious blow to the president.

But the spokeswoman said that the detention had no connection with restriction of press freedom.

"Two of the detainees are public servants," Manjgaladze said. "Their detention is not related to their professional work. Free speech is protected by legislation in our country."

"At present we think that no additional comment should be made about the case, but we must emphasize that the detention of the photographers has nothing to do with media freedom," she added.

The Interior Ministry last week also detained Zurab Kurtsikidze, a photographer for the European Pressphoto Agency, and Giorgi Abdaladze, a photographer for the Foreign Ministry, accusing them of spying for Russia.

Two other photographers were also detained but were later released after interrogation at the ministry.

Source: Xinhua
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