Georgian court sentences S. Ossetian security officials to life imprisonment in absentia in Tatunashvili case
A Mtskheta District Court in Georgia has sentenced two security officials from South Ossetia – David Gurtsiev and Alik Taboev – to life inprisonment in absentia.
They were found guilty of torture that resulted in the death of Georgian citizen Archil Tatunashvili.
Both are wanted by Interpol.
Georgian citizen Archil Tatunashvili died in February 2018 in a Tskhinvali remand prison under unknown circumstances. A forensic examination found signs of torture on his body.
The statement of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia says that the defendants David Gurtsiev and Alik Taboev, who at the time of Tatunashvili’s death were members of the security forces, were ‘performing their duties improperly.’
According to the Georgian prosecutor’s office, Archil Tatunashvili was tortured by the South Ossetian security forces for participating in the August 2008 war. As a result of the torture, more than 100 different types of bodily injuries were inflicted on him, of which Tatunashvili died.
On February 22, 2018, representatives of the de facto authorities of South Ossetia detained Tatunashvili, and the next day, 35-year-old Tatunashvili died in a Tskhinvali prison under unknown circumstances.
Archil Tatunashvili lived in the village of Kanchaveti, Akhalgori region, which was controlled by the Ossetian and Russian sides. He supplied Akhalgori shops with food brought from Tbilisi.
According to the Ossetian side, Tatunashvili fell down the stairs of the Tskhinvali isolation ward and died of heart failure. Official Tbilisi is convinced that he was tortured to death.
The Ossetian side did not return Archil Tatunashvili’s body to his family for almost a month. After the body was handed over to the Georgian side, experts found multiple injuries on it. The heart, brain and other internal organs had been removed from the body.
At the time of the crime, David Gurtsiev was an assistant to the prosecutor of the so-called Akhalgori prosecutor’s office, and Alik Taboev was the head of the local KGB service.