Thursday, September 4, 2008

Tsotne Gamsakhurdia accused of espionage and attempting to overthrow government

Цотне Гамсахурдия обвиняется в шпионаже и попытке госпереворота

Tsotne Gamsakhurdia, middle son of the first president of Georgia [Zviad Gamsakhurdia], has been charged on two counts: according to clause 314 of the Georgian Criminal Code ("Espionage") and clause 135 ("Plotting with the aim to overthrow a legitimate power"). The charges were announced by the accused's defense attorney Keti Bekauri, reports "Kavkaz-Press."

According to Bekauri, Gamsakhurdia is already talking, having refused his right to silence. "He denies the charges and will not plead guilty," said the attorney. Gamsakhurdia was arrested the evening of September 3 at the Tbilisi airport, returning via Baku from Moscow where he has been living these last years. Gamsakhurdia has been under investigation since November 2007. Back then, the General Prosecutor of Georgia accused him of attempting to organize a coup and of communicating with Russian special services. Gamsakhurdia is accused of spying for Russia.

Earlier, on August 22, after the active phase of the military operation in South Ossetia had already ended, the United Opposition warned that Georgian authorities might soon begin once again to search for internal enemies. The worries were brought out by a statement made by Saakashvili's wife Sandra Roelofs in which she said that "the opposition protests in November 2007 were financed by Russia."

One of the leaders of the United Opposition, secretary for the party "Movement for a United Georgia" Eka Beselia stated that the Georgian authorities would soon begin to search for internal enemies and any artificial link between the Georgian opposition and the Russian special services. "This is an attempt by the authorties to find an escape from the current situation, to overcome the crisis. It will be necessary for the authorities to find internal enemies, but I am absolutely sure that it won't be successful, just as it wasn't in November when they even made films about Russian agents in the Georgian opposition," she noted.

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