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Georgian Daily Wants To See State Deal With Russian Energy Company

TBILISI, Georgia -- The Georgian newspaper "Rezonansi" and the Young Lawyers Association (AIA) said they will continue their legal case against the Energy Ministry for not revealing details of a deal it made with a Russian energy company, RFE/RL's Georgian Service reports.

The agreement between the Georgian government and the Russian company Inter RAO, which exports electricity to Georgia, has been labeled as "secret" by the government and is unavailable to the public. The Energy Ministry and the government have defended the confidentiality of the deal, while "Rezonansi" has tried to gain access to it for two years.

Journalists from the newspaper spent one year trying unsuccessfully to get a court to order the government to make the agreement available to them. They have also lost an appeal since taking the case to a higher court in conjunction with the AIA.

The government has said the agreement is the document of a private company and the firm has the right to keep it confidential. But the plaintiffs say most of Inter RAO's shares belong to the Russian government, making it a public company.

They add that the hydropower station Engurihes, which figures in the deal between Georgia and Inter RAO, is located on the boundary between Abkhazia and Georgia proper and it is therefore important that the public knows who is responsible for it.

At the last court session in the case on May 5, Judge Ketevan Dugladze suggested an agreement be made that would allow some parts of the agreement be made public, but the Energy Ministry and the government rejected that proposal.