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Georgia detains dozen interior ministry 'cyber spies'

Published on Nov 16, 2012 6:57 PM

TBILISI (AFP) - Georgia has detained 11 senior interior ministry officials and Tbilisi's deputy mayor for alleged cyber spying on opposition leaders ahead of parliamentary polls, prosecutors said on Friday.

Former deputy interior minister and current vice mayor of Tbilisi Shota Khizanishvili, an ally of President Mikheil Saakashvili, and 11 serving police officials are suspected of the illegal surveillance of opposition leaders using computer malware, chief prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili told journalists.

The arrests follow the prosecutions on abuse of power charges of former defence minister Bacho Akhalaia and army chief of staff Giorgi Kalandadze, the first major cases against top officials from the Saakashvili government.

Mr Kbilashvili said the officials used the malware to access the computers of political parties opposed to Mr Saakashvili, whose long dominant party was defeated in the October elections by a coalition led by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.

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