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Georgian TV Producer Seeks Political Asylum

A Georgian television producer is seeking political asylum in Russia, complaining of harassment for his contacts with the Georgian opposition, RIA-Novosti reported Friday.

The producer, Badri Afanasyev, asked for asylum when he arrived at a Dagestani border checkpoint from Azerbaijan on Oct. 15, the report said, citing the Dagestani branch of the Federal Security Service.

Afanasyev, 53, worked at Imedi television and said he came under pressure back when tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili, the Imedi owner who died in February 2008, was alive.

But Imedi denied that Afanasyev had faced pressure. “Afanasyev worked as a producer for one of the serials on Imedi, but he resigned about two years ago,” the channel told RIA-Novosti.

Russian authorities said the asylum request was being considered.

n A military court in Rostov-on-Don jailed a soldier for nine years on Friday for passing secrets to Georgia between February and November 2008, Reuters reported. Prosecutors said Sergeant Jemal Nakaidze had been lured by Georgian secret services to pass on military information for money and the promise of an apartment in Batumi. The judge said he showed leniency because Nakaidze had admitted his guilt.

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