Tbilisi displays poignant photos of 2007 and 2011 protest rallies

Gedenidze (R), Abdaladze and Aivazov (L) were detained in Georgia in July 2011 and accused of espionage. After pleaded guilty they dismissed the plea agreement on July 22, 2011.
Agenda.ge, 12 Nov 2014 - 16:25, Tbilisi,Georgia

The personal photographer of Georgia’s ex-president and two others who were detained after a protest rally in 2011 are hosting an exhibition of their poignant work.

The one-day exhibition will showcase 60 photos of the November 7, 2007 and May 26, 2011 protest rallies, which ended in a violent dispersal by riot police.

Irakli Gedenidze, the personal photographer of ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili and photo-journalist for the newspaper Prime Time, as well as former photo-journalist for Georgia’s Foreign Ministry Giorgi Abdaladze and Shah Aivazov, an Associated Press photo-journalist, will host the exhibition.

Gedenidze, Abdaladze and Aivazov were detained in Georgia in July 2011 and accused of espionage. Their exhibition, named ‘Regime without mask’ will be held on November 14 at Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel.

Meanwhile, Irakli Gedenidze was the personal photographer of Ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili until he would be accused of passing secret information regarding the movements of the President to Russian intelligence and charged with espionage in 2011. 

The Counter-Intelligence Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia detained three other Georgian photojournalists also: Gedenidzes spouse, Natia Gedenidze, photographer for the Georgian newspaper Prime Time; Zurab Kurtsikidze, a photographer for the European Press photo Agency in Georgia; and Giorgi Abdaladze, a photographer for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia (MIA). MIA insisted that the three photographers longtime friendship was in fact functioning as an underground spy cell. 

Georgia has vigorously defended the arrests, implying they were politically motivated or an attack on press freedom. Mr. Abdaladzes lawyer in the published a letter saying that the charges were in retaliation for him having distributed photographs of a May 26 rally that had been violently broken up by riot police. Soon after this, Kurtsikidze and Abdaladze agreed to plead guilty to espionage and as a result, they were released on probation, with conditional sentences ranging from six months to three years.  The photographers were discharged from accusation and criminal record only in March 2013.