Tbilisi demands release of Georgian citizens detained in South Ossetia at IPM
Georgia demands release of citizens in South Ossetia
The 99th meeting within the framework of the Incident Prevention Mechanism was held in the village of Ergneti in the zone of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict.
At the meeting, the Georgian side demanded the release of Zaza Gakheladze, Gennady Bestaev and Lasha Hetereli, illegally detained citizens of Georgia held in Tskhinvali
The Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism format addresses issues of concern, including the illegal detention of civilians, border demarcation, the supply of irrigation water to villages, the safe cultivation of land by farmers along the line of occupation, and other current issues.
The topic of conversation with the Ossetian side was the creeping occupation – two days ago, the occupation forces moved the occupation line in the villages of Takhtisdziri and Dirbi, and then in Gogeti and Tamarasheni and installed wooden poles.
The relocation of the lines of occupation in the villages and the installation of pillars coincided with the creation of a demarcation and demilitarization commission in the de facto parliament of South Ossetia about two weeks ago. The main task of this commission is to define the borders of the former South Ossetian Autonomous Region and “thus to define the state borders of South Ossetia.”
According to the Georgian State Security Service, at today’s meeting in Ergneti, the Georgian side raised the issue of ensuring the safety of the local population during the Easter holiday.
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On February 5, the Tskhinvali court sentenced Zaza Gakheladze, a citizen of Georgia, to 12 years and 6 months in prison.
Zaza Gakheladze, 34, a resident of the village of Kvemo Chala, Kaspi municipality, was detained by Russian border guards on July 11, 2020 near the Skhvilo fortress, allegedly while trying to “cross the border”.
During the arrest, Gakheladze was wounded in the leg. The Ossetian side claims that Gakheladze put up armed resistance.
A Tskhinvali court found Gakheladze guilty on two counts – encroachment on the life of a serviceman and illegal crossing of the state border.
The Georgian side demanded the release of Zaza Gakheladze at the last round of the Geneva talks in October last year, but to no avail.
Gennadi Bestaev was detained in 2019 on charges of violating the border and drug smuggling. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison.
Lasha Hetereli is also serving a one-year term in a Tskhinvali prison for “illegal border crossing”.