Body of Georgian national who died in South Ossetia released to his family
The body of Georgian citizen Archil Tatunashvili, who died in unclear circumstances in Tskhinvali on 23 February, has been released to his family in the village of Tsilkhani, Mtskheta municipality, Radio Liberty reports.
The Georgian side received the body of Archil Tatunashvili on 20 March, 26 days after his death in the so-called “neutral zone” near the village of Ergneti.
The body was first taken to the Samkharauli National Forensics Bureau before being handed over to his family. Official results have yet to be released, but the head of the Akhalgori municipality, Nugzar Tinikashvili, says that “there was definite damage visible on his body”.
“[Traces of injury] were visible on his hands and face, but the extent of the injuries will be determined by the autopsy. We will wait for its results”, Tinikashvili told Interpressnews.
Moreover, some Georgian media outlets have cited close relatives of Tatunashvili as saying that a finger was missing from one of his hands. This information has not been officially confirmed.
The de-facto authorities of South Ossetia refused to hand over the body of Tatunashvili to his family for 26 days. Tatunashvili, who served on a peace-keeping mission in Iraq back in 2008, was detained on 22 February in Daba Akhalgori by representatives of the occupation regime.
On 23 February, the de-facto state security service of South Ossetia released a statement saying that police escorts had had to use force against Tatunashvili after he’d put up resistance to them and tried to snatch the gun of one of them. In the ensuing scuffle, they said Tatunashvili fell down the stairs and later died of a heart failure in a Tskhinvali hospital.
The man’s family do not believe this account to be true and are convinced that he was murdered. The Georgian authorities also doubt the accuracy of this account and believe that the release of his body has been procrastinated for so long because traces of torture were visible on his body.