Georgian spy case 'anti-Russian paranoia': Moscow

12th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia on Tuesday branded as "paranoia" the recent arrest of three Georgian photographers charged with spying and passing secret information to Moscow.

"Anti-Russian hysteria in Tbilisi is gathering steam once again," Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement, expressing sympathy for "hostages of anti-Russian paranoia".

Georgia accuse the three photojournalists, including President Mikheil Saakashvili's personal photographer, of collecting confidential material on the Georgian leader and sending it to Russian military intelligence.

Four photographers were detained in overnight raids on Thursday. One was later released, and the other three charged with espionage on Saturday and placed in pre-trial detention for two months.

"The (Georgian) authorities are working hard to convince the international community and their own public that Georgia is swimming with spies and saboteurs," Lukashevich added,

Ex-Soviet Georgia fought a brief war with neighbour Russia in 2008 and has regularly accused Moscow of running espionage operations on its territory.

© 2011 AFP

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