TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian police have arrested two members of the opposition Georgian Dream movement for having tried to “recruit” an intelligence officer.
A statement published on the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ website says the two are charged with abuse of power, a violation of the criminal code.
More specifically, they tried to “recruit” a chief operative officer within the ministry’s counterintelligence department.
A few days ago, the ministry arrested one person on the same kind of charges, for allegedly having “recruited” a policeman, who is still on the run, to secretly record meetings among police. The plot was allegedly orchestrated by one of Georgian Dream top Bidzina Ivanishvili’s political advisors, Irakli Sesiashvili.
These latest charges relate to Irakli Pertenava and Zurab Pipia, both persons with responsibility within Georgian Dream,who allegedly ttempted to “recruit” counterintelligence officer Kakha Baghaturia.
The ministry claims that Pipia, himself a former employee of the special services, asked Baghaturia to provide information about ongoing and planned surveillance operations against Georgian Dream. Pipia allegedly offered him security guarantees and financial support in return.
During their second conversation, Pertenava allegedly told Baghaturia that in order to obtain the information covertly, they had imported listening devices hidden inside everyday items like belt buckles, keys and key rings.
Irakli Chikovani, Secretary of the Free Democrats Party, calls the charges, which are laid out in a video message posted on the ministry’s website, a ploy.
He says the Free Democrats Party, like the rest of the Georgian Dream coalition, is an open organization, which keeps within the boundaries of the law. Information about ongoing surveillance against themselves is therefore irrelevant, and they are not trying to get such information.
Sesiashvili says he is suspicious about these charges and says he wonders what the two who are arrested are saying in this secret recording.
“This is second part of an attempt to arrest people accused of recruiting police, because the first part doesn’t exist and was made up. I don’t exclude that they need this second part to strengthen the first one and make it seem the first one was true. I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but I suspect that all of this is a ploy.”
He doesn’t exclude that these arrests may be a way of getting at him.