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Georgian Prosecutor Announces Plea Deal In Photographer Spy Case


A handout photo taken from footage from the Georgian Interior Ministry's official website on July 9 shows Georgian presidential photographer Irakli Gedenidze answering investigators' questions.

A handout photo taken from footage from the Georgian Interior Ministry's official website on July 9 shows Georgian presidential photographer Irakli Gedenidze answering investigators' questions.

Prosecutors in Georgia say they have requested suspended sentences rather than prison time for three prominent photojournalists who are charged with spying for Russia.

A statement from the prosecutor's office said a plea-bargain deal had been agreed because the accused pleaded guilty and gave the authorities "information of particular importance" for Georgia's national security about Russian intelligence operations in the country.

Khatuna Iosava, a spokeswoman for Georgia's Justice Ministry, said the prosecutor recommended that the photographers "do not represent any threat to Georgia's interests at this point" and asked the court to apply suspended sentences.

If approved by the court, suspended sentences would see the photographers freed quickly in the high-profile spy case that has sparked daily protests in the former Soviet republic.

Prosecutors say the three men -- including pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili's personal photographer, Irakli Gedenidze, and a Foreign Ministry contract photographer, Giorgi Abdaladze -- have confessed to obtaining confidential data that was passed to Russian military intelligence.

compiled from agency reports
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