TBILISI, DFWatch–Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili asks President Mikheil Saakashvili to release secret documents. One of the documents concerns the TV station Imedi.
The PM says he is ‘shocked’ by all the material which is classified as top secret, as ‘crime is everywhere’; therefore he wants it made public.
The president’s administration is not commenting on the request yet, while the head of the administration wrote on his Facebook page that it was unnecessary of the prime minister to speak about the issue.
According to Georgian law, top secret material contains information which is important for the country’s security and only a few persons must have access to it. However, there has long been a suspicion that the previous government used classified things to keep its own business secret.
Despite this suspicion, these documents haven’t been declassified after the change of government last year.
At a press conference Wednesday, Ivanishvili said that every document classified as top secret which he has seen contains crime and they indicate criminal actions by officials in the former government.
“The simplest way that they have found is that they granted those material the status of top secret,” he said.
“I don’t want to speak early before the trial and I won’t specifically discuss it, but we must define the list of what can be top secret. It will require improvements in legislation and new standards.”
The PM didn’t name specific documents, but he said that the government has made a decision to publish an agreement between former government officials and the family of Patarkatsishvilis which has been classified as top secret until now.
Questions still linger about what happened with Imedi TV, which was owned by former businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili. After he died in 2008, his family lost control over the channel. They regained control only after the change of government in 2012. An investigation into the case showed that many persons appeared to be involved in what happened to Imedi, including a relative of the Patarkatsivhilis who helped transfer ownership, but it also shows the involvement of Tbilisi City Hall.
The investigation is still ongoing.
The PM said that during a session government September 5 a decision was made to publish an agreement about Imedi TV, and the decision has now been sent to the president.
“There were such conditions in this agreement that I cannot say it right now, but when I read it I was taken aback. They signed surprising conditions, both former government official and the Patarkatsishvili family. I cannot say what the agreement was, but they hide it so carefully that no one would have a right to remove the status of top secret from this document,” he said.
DF Watch tried to get a comment about this issue from the Patarkatsishvili family, but they did not wish to speak publicly about it.
Only the president can declassify top secret documents, and it is still not known whether Saakashvili will approve the prime minister’s request to declassify the Imedi agreement.