Public Defender says release of alleged audio recording of opposition politicians illegal

Nino Lomjaria calls on the investigative bodies to launch an investigation into the illegal acquisition of personal information. Photo:, 08 Nov 2020 - 19:41, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Public Defender Nino Lomjaria condemns the illegal acquisition and release of audio recordings allegedly involving Georgian opposition politicians, which were published by Ukrainian media outlet Obozrevatel on November 6.

In one of the recordings published by Obozrevatel, United National Movement-led Strength in Unity member Gubaz Sanikidze speaks with the uncle of the third president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, Temur Alasania. 

Allegedly Alasania is instructing Sanikidze not to give any legitimacy to the current Georgian government and to declare nationwide disobedience. 

In Obozrevatel's another audio recording, UNM incumbent MP Salome Samadashvili is discussing her internal party affairs with a friend. 

Salome Samadashvili wrote on her Facebook page that she will inform the international community that the recording, which contains edited pieces of her private conversations, has been obtained by secret surveillance. Photo: Salome Samadashvili’s Facebook page

Nino Lomjaria released a statement after Georgian Imedi TV re-published the audio recordings from the Ukrainian media outlet. 

Lomjaria said such cases have ‘a significant impact on the quality of the protection of privacy in the country and deepen the feeling among citizens that their privacy and communication are not protected in accordance with constitutional guarantees’.

It is especially problematic when a similar case involves a Member of Parliament, who enjoys higher guarantees in order to fulfill his/her constitutional mandate", Lomjaria said.

It is noteworthy that the illegal secret recordings have been released mainly against female MPs and female politicians in recent years, worsening the unequal situation in terms of women’s political participation in the country”, she added. 

Noting that illegal surveillance and eavesdropping are punishable by law, Nino Lomjaria said the release of above audio recordings ‘casts a shadow on the activities of state bodies and raises questions about their possible participation or the effectiveness of their activities’.

Therefore, the Georgian Public Defender calls on the investigative bodies to launch an investigation into the illegal acquisition of personal information.

She also calls on the State Inspector's Office to check whether covert investigative activities were carried out against the persons involved in the recording.