The Court of Appeal Affirms Guilty Verdict Against the Former High-ranking Officials in So Called "Photographers" Case

2018-01-09 11:50:03

Tbilisi Court of Appeals did not accept the appeal of the defense and affirmed the guilty verdict, delivered by the Tbilisi City Court on July 20, 2017, without changing, against Davit Devnozashvili and Aleksandre Mukhadze, convicted for the so called “photographers” case.  
Evidences submitted by the State Prosecution, as well as the court judgment, confirm that:
On July 07, 2011, photographer of the European Press Photo Agency “EPA” - Zurab Kurtsikidze, photo-reporter of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia - Giorgi Abdaladze, photo-reporter of the Administration of the President of Georgia - Irakli Gedenadze and his spouse, photo-editor of the editorial office “Prime Time” - Natela Gedenidze were arrested for espionage charges by the officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and placed them in MIA N1 Temporary Detention Isolator of Tbilisi.
The deputy head of the Tbilisi Territorial Division of the MIA Counterintelligence Department, Davit Devnozashvili decided to take pre-fabricated testimonies from detained photographers on their participation in spy networks, using psychological pressure and intimidation.
On 07 and 08 July of 2011, for the mentioned purposes, Davit Devnozashvili, unofficially, repeatedly and separately met the spouses Irakli and Natela Gedenidze in their temporary detention isolator, so that his entries were not recorded in the registration log and forced them to provide false testimonies on their participation in the spy network by threatening them to spread the spicy photo of Natela Gedenidze’s private life and blackmailing about the future of their children.
Also, Davit Devnozashvili with the help of the director of N8 Penitentiary Facility, Aleksandre Mukhadze, who were organizing the secret meetings of law enforcers with the photo-reporters, repeatedly met with Zurab Kurtsikidze in N8 Penitentiary Facility and forced him to give a pre-fabricated false testimony under a psychological pressure.
As soon as Davit Devnozashvili persuaded Irakli Gedenidze, Natia Gedenidze and Zurab Kurtsikidze to confess as a result of the psychological pressure, he secretly met with Giorgi Abdaladze in N8 Penitentiary Facility at night, on July 15, 2011, with the help of Aleksandre Mukhadze. At the meeting with the accused, Davit Devnozashvili told Giorgi Abdaladze that he was "in their hands"; “they could do whatever they wanted with him”. He was mentioning his child in their conversations, who could get into an accident.
Giorgi Abdaladze could not endure the psychological pressure of Davit Nevnozashvili and agreed to give a pre-fabricated false testimony, the content of which had to be determined by Davit Devnozashvili. The defendant would learn the testimony by heart and the next day, during the investigation – interrogation, he would make a testimony, in the presence of his attorneys, in front of the camera.  For this purpose, Davit Devnozashvili, accompanied by the law enforcers, in order to reflect the false spying history in the defendant’s interrogation protocol, taught the pre-fabricated testimony to Giorgi Abdaladze by heart, him to confirm everything next day, during his interrogation.
On July 16, 2011, the accused Giorgi Abdaladze, being under the psychological pressure, gave a false testimony during the investigation action – video recorded interrogation, in the presence of his attorneys, according to the plan/scenario, defined by Davit Devnozashvili, thus falsified the evidence in the criminal case.
The fact of abuse of power by Davit Devnozashvili, committed against Zurab Kurtsikidze, Giorgi Abdaladze, Natela and Irakli Gedenidze, was resulted in an essential violation of the right of the mentioned persons, insulting their personal dignity, also in an essential violation of legitimate interests of the state.  
According to the decision of the court, Davit Devnozashvili was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment for committing the crime envisaged by the Criminal Code of Georgia, Article 333, part three, subparagraphs “B” and “C”, which was shorted under the Law of Georgia on Amnesty to 4 years and 6 months. Also, he was deprived of the right to hold office for the term of 1 year and 4 months, as an additional penalty for him. As for Aleksandre Mukhadze, he was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment for committing the crime envisaged by the Criminal Code of Georgia, Article 333, part one, which was shorted to 1 year and 6 months imprisonment under the Law of Georgia on Amnesty. He was deprived of the right to hold office for the same term.
In addition, as far as it is known to the public, the prosecution has issued resolutions on the substantial violation of the right of illegally convicted Zurab Kurtsikidze, Giorgi Abdaladze, Irakli and Natela Gedenidze, on the basis of which, the Tbilisi Court of Appeals is proceeding to review the judgment due to the newly revealed circumstances.