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Ministry: Detained Georgian Photographers 'Spied For Russia'


Photographer Giorgi Abdaladze
The Georgian Interior Ministry says that three Georgian news photographers detained on July 7 on suspicion of espionage were supplying secret information to Russia.

The ministry alleged in a statement today that European Pressphoto Agency photographer Zurab Kurtsikidze sent images taken by two other photographers to the Russian Defense Ministry's intelligence services.

It said police searching their homes had found photocopied plans of the layout of the presidential building, information about the president's meetings, and routes of his trips.

Georgian police have held Kurtsikidze in custody since July 7 along with Irakli Gedenidze -- the personal photographer for Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili -- and Giorgi Abdaladze, a contract photographer who works with the Georgian Foreign Ministry and has freelanced for The Associated Press.

A fourth photographer, Gedenidze's wife, Natia, was released from custody earlier today.

compiled from agency reports

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