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Family of Archil Tatunashvili requests transfer of the deceased


Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli

On February 23, TV-Company IR operating in the occupied Tskhinvali reported that citizen of Georgia, 35-years-old Archil Tatunashvili died in Tskhinvali.

According to the de-facto state security ministry Archil Tatunashvili was arrested in the occupied Akhalgori on February 22 under the charge of the “participation in the genocide.” Afterwards he was taken to interrogation where the evidence was provided.

“The suspected person enjoyed his right to silence and refused to answer the questions without interpreter and the advocate. However, he did not cooperate with the investigation in the presence of the advocate either. Afterwards it was decided to take him to the preliminary detention setting but during the process the detainee tried to grab a gun from the security guard. His action was reacted immediately and police used power and special tools against him. Archil Tatunashvili lost balance and slipped on the stairs. He received serious injuries and was taken to hospital, where he passed away,” the statement of the security committee of the occupied Tskhinvali region reads, which also notes that according to the preliminary expertise of the body Archil Tatunashvili died of acute heart failure.

The family members of the deceased man do not trust the investigative bodies of the Tskhinvali de-facto authority; they claim that Archil Tatunashvili was killed.

“Archil was beaten and tortured to death. In order to hide the trace of their action, they disseminate false information,” the family member said.
Like family members, neither Georgian government members trust the investigation in the occupied Tskhinvali.  

“The circumstances in which he died shall be immediately estimated and this grave fact shall be adequately responded; and the Russian Federation and the occupation regime bear the whole responsibility for this tragedy,” State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Ketevan Tsikhelashvili said.

Tskhinvali de-facto authority refused to engage the investigative bodies of Georgia in the investigation process. They refused to allow the representatives of the Samkharauli Forensic Expertise Bureau to enter the occupied territory.

Considering the current situation, on February 26, the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism held special meeting in Ergneti village, which ended without any results. At the meeting representatives of the Georgian authority raised issue of transferring the body of Archil Tatunashvili and two Georgian detainees Levan Kutashvili and Ioseb Pavliashvili to the Georgian side. The detainees are in the occupied Akhalgori district and cannot travel to the Georgia controlled territory.

As representative of the analytic service of the State Security Service Kakhaber Kemoklidze said they could not get answers to any concrete issues during the special meeting of the IPRM.

“The de-facto authority refused to give the body of the deceased man and said they are waiting for the conclusion of the Russian Expertise Bureau. We offered to give the body to the family and wait for the conclusion but they said they will find out with the Russian authorities,” Kemoklidze said.
He called on the international organizations to increase their oppression on the decision-maker persons in the occupied Tskhinvali region to positively resolve the raised issues.

Representatives of the Tskhinvali de-facto authority left the IPRM special meeting without comments. However, later on news agency RES disseminated the statement of the representative of the de-facto president Murat Jyoev. He expressed condolence to the family and relatives of Tatunashvili and noted that his death is tragedy regardless the questions of the South Ossetian law-enforcement bodies about his activities.

“The Georgian side will receive the body of Archil Tatunashvili after the independent expertise will be conducted in the territory of the Russian Federation. Reportedly, his death was caused by acute heart failure and our preliminary expertise proved it. In order to verify our conclusion by independent experts, we sent materials to the independent expert,” Jyoev said.

He added that Georgian side will receive the body and copies of the expertise results in near future. Jyoev said all parties shall take care not to politicize the death of Archil Tatunashvili and avoid further complication of the relations between Tskhinvali and Georgia. He said two more citizens of Georgia, who were arrested together with Tatunashvili, will be freed on Saturday.
“On Saturday they were freed and now they are in their homes in Leningori because investigative bodies still have questions to them and they will stay in the territory of the republic for a while; afterwards they will be transferred to the Georgian side,” Jyoev said.

After the Tskhinvali side refused to transfer the body of the deceased Archil Tatunashvili to his family, the family members and relatives blocked the Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze motorway close to Akhalgori. 

They said the Georgian government members and representatives of state institutions did not pay adequate attention to the issue and decided to protest and request transfer of the deceased.

“All steps were taken but when it is comes to the occupied territories of Georgia, we all know what leverages we have,” the Minister for IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees Sozar Subari said, when he arrived at the site of the protest demonstration.

Until the real causes of Archil Tatunashvili’s death are estimated, his family members and relatives do not agree with the accusation, according to which de-facto law enforcement bodies arrested him. Archil Tatunashvili was blamed in the genocide of the Ossetian people. 

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