The charges have been brought in absentia
The Georgian prosecutor’s office has charged, in absentia, two policemen from the Tskhinvali region [official name for South Ossetia used in Georgia proper] of depriving Georgian citizens Archil Tatunashvili, Levan Kutashvili an Ioseb Pavliashvili of liberty and torturing them.
The charges were brought against David Gurtsiev and Alik Taboev.
David Gurtsiev is an assistant to the prosecutor of occupied Akhalgori, while Alik Taboev is the head of the so-called local KGB. They have been charged under articles 143 and 25(1441) of the criminal code of Georgia, which provides for 9-15 years of imprisonment.
During the investigation, the prosecutor’s office discovered that Tatunashvili occasionally went to Akhalgori where he sold fruits and vegetables. De-facto South Ossetia authorities found out that Tatunashvili had served in the armed forces of Georgia in August of 2008. On 22 February 2018, Tatunashvili, Kutashvili and Pavliashvili were arrested.
Tatunashvili was put in handcuffs in Tskhinvali and, allegedly, tortured in the prosecutor’s office building, resulting in over 100 torture marks present on his body. Tatunashvili died the next day in unclear circumstances, the prosecutor’s said.
Tskhinvali claimed that 35-year-old Tatunashvili fell down some stairs at the Tskhinvali detention center and later died of heart failure after being taken to hospital by ambulance.
Neither Tbilisi nor Tatunashvili’s family believe this version of events. Suspicions that Tatunashvili was killed are enforced by the fact that the Ossetian side only returned Tatunashvili’s body to Georgia almost a month later on 20 March. The body was missing several organs at the time, including his brain and heart.