Georgian minister arrested over gay sex tape leak

Submitted by ILGA-Europe

Reposted from Agence France-Presse:

Georgia’s deputy interior minister has been arrested for allegedly leaking a gay sex tape involving a critical journalist, officials said Monday.

The interior ministry said deputy minister Gela Khvedelidze admitted breach of privacy charges over the Internet posting of a secretly-filmed video depicting a threesome purportedly involving journalist Giorgi Paresashvili, who had been running reports accusing high-ranking officials of seizing businesses.

“Gela Khvedelidze, for personal reasons, illegally circulated on the Internet footage of journalist Giorgi Paresashvili’s private life,” the interior ministry said. “The detainee admitted his guilt.”

In separate televised comments, Interior Minister Irakli Garibashvili said the video had been recorded by officials in the previous government of President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Officials in Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s government have previously accused members of Saakashvili’s administration of using illegal surveillance to build up a huge cache of material on high-ranking figures.

In January, prosecutors arrested three top former defense ministry officials of organizing the secret filming of gay sex videos allegedly involving prominent individuals to blackmail them into cooperating with the security services.

Homosexuality is still highly stigmatized in Georgia, a deeply socially conservative ex-Soviet state in the Caucasus whose Orthodox Church retains a strong influence.

Since elections last October, which saw Saakashvili’s United National Movement party defeated by Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream coalition, the two leaders have gone through a tense political stand-off.

Saakashvili, who must step down as president in October when his second and last term expires, accuses Ivanishvili of conducting a political witch-hunt against him and his supporters.

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