Grandma Despondent After Killing Entire Country's Internet

It was the chop heard round the Internet.

A 75-year-old Georgian woman was despondent following her arrest and subsequent release for alleged cutting a fiber-optic cable in her poverty-stricken village of Armazi -- and causing Internet outages in three neighboring countries.

Facing up to three years in prison, the woman pled her innocence in court Friday. She argued not only that she wasn't responsible for the outage, she doesn't even know what the World Wide Web is.

"I have no idea what the Internet is," Hayastan Shakarian told news agency AFP, arguing between bursts of tears that she lacked the strength to cut through the thick cable.

"I did not cut this cable. Physically, I could not do it," she said, repeatedly bursting into tears as she spoke.

"Taking into account her advancing years, she has been released pending the end of the investigation and subsequent trial," Georgian interior ministry spokesman Zura Gvenetadze said.

Shakarian said she had been collecting firewood; police argue the woman was scavenging for scrap metal when she discovered the primary fiber-optic cable which runs through the two countries. Service went down when she apparently hacked into it with a shovel severing the line, officials said.

"She found the cable while collecting scrap metal and cut it with a view to stealing it," Gvenetadze told the AFP.

The damage was apparently so severe that 90% of Armenian users lost access for nearly 12 hours while neighboring Georgia and some areas of Azerbajian were also affected. Now Shakarian faces up to three years in prison.

"My mother is innocent. She is crying all the time. She is so scared," said her son, Sergo Shakarian.

Christened the "spade-hacker" by the local media, authorities arrested the woman just outside the Georgian capitol of Tbilisi last week where they charged her for damaging property.

"I cannot understand how this lady managed to find and damage the cable," the head of the company's marketing department, Giorgi Ionatamishvili, said.

The cable is owned by the Georgian railway network and is typically protected although heavy rain recently may have made the area more exposed.

Copper looting is a common means of making money in the former Soviet Union. Certain scavengers have been known to dig up hundreds of meters of cable.