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September 7, 2011
Resonance Journalist's Notebook Inspected at Akhalgori Georgian Police Checkpoint
Resonance Journalist's Notebook Inspected at Akhalgori Georgian Police Checkpoint

According to nongovernmental organization Human Rights Center, journalist of Resonance newspaper Mari Otarashvili's notebook was inspected at Akhalgori Georgian police checkpoint.

"One of the police officers asked me what I had in my bag, I didn't hide the fact I had a notebook in there. They asked me to turn it on and show everything inside. I protested against it initially, but then I agreed. I got off the minivan and entered the police booth together with them. I turned the notebook on; I have files like "Law on Occupied Territories" and "Strategy" (which is actually Strategy on Occupied Territories) on my desktop."

"These are the materials that I often need when writing articles. The policemen were especially interested in the file titled "Strategy", they told me to open it. I opened it and at the same time explained that this was a file copied from the website of Ministry of Reintegration. They read the "Strategy" with great interest and then asked me to show them the photos that I kept in my notebook. I initially refused as those were my private photos and photos that I used for my articles. But eventually I decided to show them those pics. They found the photo of Deputy Administrator of Ossetian separatists Merab Chigoev among the photos. They asked me a lot of questions about it.".

"I explained who that person was and told them I sometimes used his photos in my articles as I was mainly working on the Georgian-Ossetian conflict issues. They asked me why I was carrying the notebook with me, I answered I needed it for my journalist work. After that they warned me it was unadvisable to carry my notebook while going to Akhalgori district because I could carry information that could prove dangerous for the Georgian side" - Mari Otarashvili said.

Human Rights Center believes that while the authorities have launched "spy mania"  campaign and while the active citizens are being actively watched, Mari Otarashvili could be under threat of being arrested on espionage grounds.

Mari Otarashvili was raised in Akhalgori and many of her relatives still live there. She goes to the occupied Akhalgori district quite often both in order to visit with her relatives and for carrying out her professional duties. She mainly works on conflict-related issues and often prepares reports from Akhalgori.



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