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Georgia rocked by sex video scandal ahead of polls

14 March 2016, 19:36

Tbilisi - A political scandal has rocked pro-Western Georgia after a sex video of an opposition party member was posted online and other politicians received similar threats, just months before parliamentary polls.

A secretly recorded video posted on YouTube Friday appeared to show a leader from the opposition Free Democrats party making love to a partner who was not the prominent politician's spouse.

The pro-West Free Democrats confirmed that the person in the video was one of its members but did not disclose the politician's gender or name.

The Georgian political establishment received another jolt on Monday when a new video emerged showing several unidentified individuals having sex but which came with a warning.

The recording contained a threat against two politicians from a ruling coalition, an opposition politician and a prominent journalist urging them to halt their activities or see their private lives revealed to the general public.

Access to YouTube was briefly blocked for users in Georgia earlier Monday.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili condemned the sex tapes as a "blow to the state" and "blackmail of the entire society."

Also read: Should you have sex during pregnancy?

"I promise you, no matter who filmed and distributed this recording, you will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law," he said at the weekend, referring to the first tape.

But the leader of the Free Democrats, Irakli Alasania, accused "certain circles of the current government" of being behind the "attack on politicians."

"Only the authorities could have access to such materials," he claimed.

The scandal has erupted ahead of October parliamentary polls.

"This is a direct and terrible blow to the fair electoral environment, rule of law and human rights in this country," The Georgian Young Lawyers' Association, an influential rights group, said in a statement.

Covertly recorded videos have rocked Georgian politics in the past.

The release of secretly filmed videos of prison guards torturing inmates resulted in the election defeat of then-president Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement party (UNM) in 2012 parliamentary polls by the Georgian Dream ruling coalition led by billionaire tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili.

In 2013, then deputy interior minister Gela Khvedelidze was charged with leaking an opposition journalist's secretly shot sex video.

He was given a one-year suspended sentence.

The United National Movement said that the "use of dirty methods in politics ... had become the main weapon against opponents under the government of (former prime minister) Bidzina Ivanishvili" and his Georgian Dream ruling coalition.

Ivanishvili resigned in 2013, although he is widely believed to continue to wield influence over Georgia's politics.


Tags scandal sex

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