The police has apprehended 16 persons over alleged sex tape leak, which purportedly shows senior Georgian Dream lawmaker Eka Beselia.
In a statement released on February 1, the Interior Ministry said the detainees were circulating the video recording through social networks and mobile phone applications.
The ministry stressed disclosure of recordings containing private life is an offense under the Georgian legislation and can lead to imprisonment from four to eight years.
“We call on the public to stop disseminating the recordings; otherwise, we will have to react in line with the legislation,” said Vladimer Bortsvadze, head of the Criminal Police Department.
Commenting the arrests, MP Eka Beselia said she welcomes “prompt reaction” by the police, but needs more answers. “What’s more important is to identify who was behind this criminal act, who initiated it,” she noted.
MP Davit Chichinadze, former Georgian Dream member and Eka Beselia’s long-time political ally, was the first to announce the leak of recordings depicting Beselia’s private life on January 28.
In a statement later on January 28, Beselia claimed this was continuation of “a smear campaign” against her, launched shortly after her resignation from the post of the Legal Affairs Committee chair a month ago.
The lawmaker also said the recording was filmed under ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration and was first leaked under the Georgian Dream government, apparently in the 2016 sex tapes scandal.
The reports caused widespread outcry among civil society organizations.
Dispute in the ruling party started in late December, when the High Council of Justice, the body overseeing the judiciary, submitted a ten-member list of Supreme Court nominations to the Parliament, triggering the protest and eventual resignation of the Head of the Legal Affairs Committee, MP Eka Beselia.
MP Beselia accused the party’s parliamentary leadership, including Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze of lobbying specific nominees, who – she argues – have a track record of “serving Mikheil Saakashvili’s oppressive regime.”