Religious Associations Decry Alleged State Security Leaks

Religious groups involved in the Public Defender’s Tolerance Center and Council of Religions have condemned the contents of alleged State Security Service leaks, calling it “the total evil committed by the State against human beings, innocent and law-abiding citizens and religious associations.”

The Tolerance Center and thirteen organizations representing Georgia’s religious minorities said on September 19 the materials “can only indicate” that the Government through the security service “committed the gravest crimes against its people, its own citizens, all religious associations, civil society, constitution, the democratic and secular structure of the State.”

Citing media reports, the signatories pointed out that the SSG had allegedly conducted illegal and thorough wiretapping and surveillance of their activities, as well as of the leaders of the organizations and their families, relatives, friends, including minors – “everyone who were in any contact with them.”

“People who have become victims of illegal surveillance and wiretapping can no longer feel protected or secure in Georgia,” the signatories said.

They urged everyone to exercise extreme caution with the leaked information, as it may inflict “most serious, completely undeserved and irreparable harm” on the security and reputation of each person included in the files. 

Civil society activist Giorgi Mshvenieradze published an excerpt of the alleged SSG files that describes a supposed smear campaign against MP Tariel Nakaidze, chair of the Georgian Muslims Union. SSG agents supposedly spread rumors that Nakaidze took bribes from seven applicants to be sent to the U.S. in an exchange to discredit him in the eyes of the U.S. Embassy representatives and the public.

Over 3,000 documents, allegedly files of the State Security Service were leaked online on September 13. The files, albeit being largely focused on the Orthodox clergy, described conversations of Georgian journalists, civil society, opposition politicians, civil servants and foreign diplomats as well, supposedly gathered through surveillance and wiretapping.

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