The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Wednesday, October 29
Convict sentenced for murder of CIA man Freddy Woodroffe released

Anzor Sharmaidze, who was found guilty of the murder of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent Freddy Woodroffe in 1992, has been released from jail, as reported on October 28 by Imedi, which quoted The Wall Street Journal.

36 year old Sharmaidze, who had been sentenced to 15 years, was given conditional early release from Ksani jail (outside Tbilisi) last Friday. He was released a week after The Wall Street Journal published the detail investigation of the Woodroffe case, which said that witnesses had claimed that they implicated Sharmaidze under torture. Sharmaidze had previously stated that he only pleaded guilty of the murder of the American diplomat (officially Woodroffe was an official of the US Embassy) under pressure.

Despite the conditional release, Sharmaidze is still considered guilty, as the verdict has not been reversed. The Wall Street Journal supposes that in the near future the Georgian authorities will undertake a full review of the case.

Freddy Woodroffe was killed on August 8, 1992. According to the official Georgian version, Sharmaidze, under the influence of alcohol, shot him with a Kalashnikov sub-machine gun. The bullet entered the agent’s heads and killed him. Many American diplomats have always questioned this account, and as The Wall Street Journal confirms, in the USA the case is considered not to have been investigated. Dell Spray, who headed an FBI investigation into Woodroffe’s death, has stated that “the Georgian version was absurd from the very beginning. It is clear that the case was forged.” (Black Sea Press)

Son of the first President of Georgia is released on bail

The son of the first President of Georgia, opposition politician Tsotne Gamsakhurdia, has been released on bail of GEL 20 thousand (over $14 thousand). Gamsakhurdia was arrested on suspicion of plotting a coup. The bail was paid by Manana Archvadze-Gamsakhurdia, Georgian TV company “Imedi” reported on October 28.

“If the police investigation is carried out objectively, the criminal persecution of Tsotne Gamsakhurdia will have to stop due to lack of evidence. This is my opinion and Tsotne adheres to the same opinion,” barrister Ketevan Bekauri told journalists.

Tsotne Gamsakhurdia was detained in Tbilisi on September 3 on arriving from Moscow. The Georgian authorities have accused the son of the first President of the country of espionage and plotting a coup against the state. The Georgian prosecutor’s office instituted criminal proceedings against him in November 2007 after the mass opposition rallies in Tbilisi, saying that Russian Special Services had organized the rallies and Gamsakhurdia had helped them. Gamsakhurdia denies the charges.

In 1999 Gamsakhurdia also wounded someone in Vake in Tbilisi. Thus he is accused of willful injury, as well as espionage and conspiracy to overthrow the legal authorities. (Black Sea Press)

Meeting with diplomats in the Foreign Ministry

On Monday Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Grigol Vashadze met representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in Georgia, Black Sea Press was told by the Press and Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. The aim of the meeting was to familiarize diplomats with the the current situation in the country, including the occupied territories. Foreign diplomats did not comment on the meeting. (Black Sea Press)

Award-winning advertiser conducts masterclass in Tbilisi

Eriks Shpendzeniski, creative director of the MOOZ advertising agency and recipient of the prestigious Cannes Lion, has conducted a masterclass on Tuesday at the Tbilisi Courtyard Marriott Hotel, organized by the Sarke Group.

The masterclass, entitled “Simplified advertising” was attended by representatives of advertising companies and marketing managers. MOOZ, originally called Zoom, was the first agency in Latvia to receive a Cannes Lion. (Prime-News)