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Georgia Clears Photographers Who Confessed to Spying for Russia

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March 28 (Bloomberg) -- Georgia dropped charges against three photographers who admitted to spying for Russia in 2011.

The decision was announced today by Corrections and Legal Assistance Minister Sozar Subari during a speech on Rustavi-2 television. The move is a first step by the new government to “restore justice” in the Black Sea nation, he said.

Zurab Qurtsikidze from the European Pressphoto Agency was arrested in July 2011 together with President Mikheil Saakashvili’s personal photographer, Irakli Gedenidze, his wife Natia and Foreign Ministry photographer Giorgi Abdaladze. Natia Gedenidze was released on bail and her charges later dropped. The other three were released conditionally because they cooperated with the investigation.

Billionaire Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream coalition won parliamentary elections last October, defeating Saakashvili’s party. The tycoon promised to restore justice, raise living standards and improve relations with Russia, with which Georgia fought a five-day war in 2008 over the breakaway South Ossetia region.

To contact the reporter on this story: Helena Bedwell in Tbilisi at hbedwell@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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