S. Ossetia’s KGB Reports Arrest of 6th Georgian Citizen in February

TSKHINVALI, South Ossetia – Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia claims a 31 year-old Georgian man was arrested on February 24 after he was charged with illegally crossing the contact line separating the region from central authority in Tbilisi, South Ossetia’s state security services said to Russian news agency Sputnik Ossetia.

According to the Russian-backed separatist government, a resident of Tbilisi was arrested when he attempted to travel near the village of Akhmaji, which remains under South Ossetian control, the region’s de facto security services – still known by its Soviet KGB acronym – said in a statement.

“The Border Services of the Republic of South Ossetia is currently conducting proceedings and a request for transferring materials to the court is being reviewed,” South Ossetia’s KGB said.

According to Sputnik Ossetia, since the beginning of the year, the region's border guards have detained six Georgian citizens. The previous violations occurred near the regional capital, Tskhinvali, the agency reported.

On February 14, the separatist region’s security services detained an unidentified Georgian citizen after he allegedly crossed the administrative boundary line.

Up to 2,500 people were detained by Russia’s feared FSB security services for illegal border crossings into the secessionist Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions from 2009- 2015, according to a human rights report from Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The report noted that 162 Georgians were arrested along the contact line with South Ossetia in 2015, alone.

In most cases detained individuals are fined and later released after several days. There have, however, been cases of Georgian citizens remaining in FSB custody for several years.

Georgian government forces fought three wars against Russian-backed separatist forces in Abkhazia and South Ossetia between 1991-2008.
The wars left thousands dead and led to the ethnic cleansing of a quarter of a million ethnic Georgians.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia were recognized as independent states by Moscow following the 2008 war.

International law and the United Nations continue to state that the regions remain parts of Georgia.

By Tamar Svanidze

Edited by Nicholas Waller

26 February 2016 20:09