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Saakashvili Defends Phone Tapping
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 18 Nov.'07 / 17:12

President Saakashvili has claimed that all phone tapping carried out by law enforcement agencies was done within the confines of the law.

“I am the first person to protect the principle that no one can interfere in an individual’s private life,” Saakashvili said on November 17. “We are willing to convene a commission with the participation of civil society to show how all this happened.”

President Saakashvili's comments were in response to growing concern over the apparently widespread practice of tapping private telephone conversations. Targets have ranged from criminal suspects to politicians and, in the most recent case, have involved journalists as well. The usual practice is for the Interior Ministry or the General Prosecutor’s Office to subsequently release the taped phone conversations so that television stations can air them.

“People should know that those who are not committing any crime will face no problem in this respect. But if someone wants to destroy our homeland, or to commit a crime, they should not be upset by the fact that the state protects itself and people then learn about it,” Saakashvili said.

Opponents, however, have alleged that in some cases law enforcement agencies have fabricated or selectively edited conversations to incriminate their targets.

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