Abkhaz political activist sentenced to three years of probation
Akhra Avidzba sentenced to three years of probation
Akhra Avidzba, a well-known political activist in Abkhazia and former commander of a detachment of volunteers in the military zone in Eastern Ukraine, has been sentenced to three years of probation and a fine of 10,000 rubles [$ 140] for illegal acquisition and possession of weapons. Four of his friends, Aslan Guatizhev, Andrey Laktionov, Taleh Hasanov, and Stanislav Kultu, who were investigated as well as Avidzba were acquitted with the right to rehabilitation.
Akhra Avidzba spent three months in the pre-trial detention center of the State Security Service of Abkhazia. The main charge against him was illegal possession of weapons, but unofficially, accusations of an attempt to organize a political coup were repeatedly cited. Friends and family say he is innocent and is persecuted by the authorities for his political activities.
Akhra Avidzba became the main advocate for the change of power in Abkhazia in January 2020. He and a couple of hundred men stormed the presidential palace and forced then-President Raul Khadjimba to resign. As a result, it is largely thanks to him that the current president, Aslan Bzhania, came to power.
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“Many thanks to journalists for the attention you paid to me. It drove them [authorities] into a framework and they adhered to the law. Long live the law and thanks to the journalists!”, these were the first words of the released Akhrik Avidzba. He said he would immediately go and spend time with his kids.
His lawyer Inga Gabilaya noted that she does not consider such a verdict “an ideal outcome”, however, nothing will be disputed. “It’s good that the guests of Akhra were released and they don’t have to be in Abkhazia all the time. Let them be here voluntarily, not forcibly”, said Inga Gabilaya.
The prosecutor’s office asked everyone to be found guilty and to set suspended sentences. The Prosecutor General’s Office refused some of the charges during the debate – these were accusations regarding the storage and carrying of weapons by a group of persons in a preliminary conspiracy.