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3 Spy Suspects named

By Mzia Kupunia
Tuesday, November 2
The identities of three of the twenty alleged spies detained by the Georgian law enforcers earlier in October have been revealed, Interpressnews news agency reported on Monday. Two of them are ethnic Armenian citizens of Georgia – Armen Gevorkyan and Ruben Shikoyan, Interpressnews wrote, citing the detainees’ advocate, Nana Tsuladze.

According to the advocate, her clients, the director and the deputy director of a company that inspects cargo and oil transit, were detained on October 17 in Batumi and sentenced to two months of preliminary detention. “The investigation is in progress; the case is completely confidential,” Tsuladze told the news agency. According to Interpressnews, Armen Gevorkyan was the head of the Armenian Diaspora in Ajara during Aslan Abashidze’s term in office.

Later on Monday Interpressnews reported on the identity of the third alleged spy – Ruslan Galogre, the technical manager of O. Galogre hotel in Batumi. According to the news agency, Galogre was detained two weeks ago. This was confirmed by the hotel’s administration; however it had no information about the possible reasons for Galogre’s detention. “We are in an uncertain situation. The only thing we know that he has been moved to Tbilisi and that he has a lawyer, but we do not know the lawyer’s name,” Interpressnews quoted hotel administration staff as saying.

The Georgian Interior Ministry has refrained from commenting on the case. “We can neither confirm nor deny the information spread by the media,” Head of the Analytical Department at MIA, Shota Utiashvili told The Messenger on November 1.

Information on the detention of 20 people, allegedly suspected of spying for Russia, was disseminated by Reuters news agency on October 29, attributing anonymous “Georgian security sources”. According to Reuters, the detainees, all of them Georgian citizens, were supposed to have formed a spy network and passed secret information to Russia. Georgian Interior Ministry officials declined to comment on the Reuter’s information, promising to make an official announcement at a special press conference on November 5.

Meanwhile Moscow has denied having any information about the case. “We do not know anything about the spy scandal in Georgia so far, apart from the fact that the detainees are Georgian citizens,” Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov told journalists on October 30.

The Foreign Ministry of Georgia has also declined to give any comments to the media on the spy case, citing that they do not yet have any information. Speaking at the regular Monday press briefing, Deputy Georgian Foreign Minister, Nino Kalandadze said the Ministry of Internal Affairs is looking into the case. “MIA is processing the case and the Foreign Ministry currently has no information,” she noted.