- I have no idea what the internet is – scavenging pensioner facing prison over cable cut
- Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Zurab Gvenetadze said she had been charged with property destruction, which carries a sentence of up to three years in jail, but it was probable she would get a lighter sentence because of her age.
news at hand .. pictures at 11 – an old gag that you “young” dear reader may not know..
April 11, 2011 – 10:40AM – brisbane times
Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Zurab Gvenetadze said she had been charged with property destruction, which carries a sentence of up to three years in jail, but it was probable she would get a lighter sentence because of her age.
Shakarian, a Georgian of Armenian origin, told AFP that she was just a “poor old woman” who was not capable of committing such a crime.
“I did not cut this cable. Physically, I could not do it,” she said, repeatedly bursting into tears as she spoke.
Shakarian, who lives in the poverty-stricken Georgian village of Armazi, about 15 kilometres from the capital Tbilisi, said that she had only been collecting firewood. “I have no idea what the internet is,” she added.
The incident on March 28 provoked lengthy debates on global internet discussion forums after it was widely publicised last week.
About 800 people posted comments about the case on the Engadget technology website, some arguing that the authorities should show leniency because of Shakarian’s age and her impoverished situation.
The company that owns the fibre-optic cable, Georgian Railway Telecom, said that the damage was serious, causing 90 per cent of private and corporate internet users in neighbouring Armenia to lose access for nearly 12 hours while also hitting Georgian internet service providers.
But although Georgian Railway Telecom insists that the 600-kilometre cable has “robust protection”, this was not the first time that it has been damaged.
Many Georgians’ internet connections were also cut off briefly in 2009 by another scavenger who hacked into the cable while hunting for scrap metal to sell.
In Armenia, a spokeswoman for the country’s largest internet service-provider Armentel, Anush Begloyan, said: “The incident forces our company to think about diversifying our channels.” Her son, Sergo Shakarian, said: “My mother is innocent. She is crying all the time. She is so scared.”
The Georgian interior ministry said that, despite her claims to innocence, Shakarian had already confessed to cutting the cable.