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Chief Prosecutor’s Office detains two men allegedly linked with sex videos

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, March 16
Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office has released a statement saying it has detained two people allegedly connected with the recent leak of videos depicting the personal lives of public officials.

The state body said that a former official of the Constitutional Security Department of the previous government, Zurab Jamalashvili, and Irakli Pkaladze, a lawyer, have been detained.

As reported, they have been detained on charges of keeping and spreading illegal footage but not for uploading it to the Internet.

‘The Prosecutor’s Office will provide the public with detailed information as soon as possible. Investigative activities are underway,’ reads the Office’s statement.

On March 11, a sex video showing one of opposition leaders was spread on Youtube and reached about 135 people until Georgia’s law enforcers managed to block it.

After two days, another video was spread that was immediately blocked. The video included an inscription saying the process would continue until the “worthless politicians leave politics”.

The videos have caused alarm and embarrassment amongst the Georgian public. The Prime Minister promised “severe” punishment to those involved in the “unacceptable action”.

The President also said he “would find and punish those committing such horrible actions”.

Meanwhile, the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party accused the Government of spreading the video and said the detention of the two men raised more questions rather than provided answers.

The party said the State Security Service - a body they claim is carrying out political pressure - must close and a special mechanism or a commission must be established investigating the crimes committed by law enforcers.

They also said that Georgia’s Interior Ministry should not have direct access to surveillance and eavesdropping equipment.

In response, members of the parliamentary majority said that spreading such videos was not in the Government’s interests and shifted blame onto the UNM, as thousands of such videos were taped under the UNM Government, a significant number of them having been destroyed by the current leadership after the 2012 parliamentary elections.

The sex abuse videos filmed in prisons were described as being one of the key reasons the UNM was defeated by the Georgian Dream coalition in the 2012 parliamentary race.

The civil sector said the current Government’s non-effective investigation of facts related to sex and videos of private lives in previous years encouraged serious complications in this regard.

“Respecting privacy is among the priorities in Georgia-EU relations,” said the EU Ambassador to Georgia, Janos Herman, when commenting on the issue.

According to him, he was “shocked” when the materials were publicly released.

“You can consider me as a part of society that was shocked when such materials were publicly spread. I agree with the opinion that private lives should not be interfered with. Respecting privacy is among the top priorities in Georgia-EU relations,” he said.

However, he claimed that it is very good that factions across the political spectrum as well as civil society showed unanimous disgust towards the issue.