A court in de facto South Ossetia sentenced Georgian citizen Giorgi Giunashvili to a 20-year prison term. The court is arguing that Giunashvili was involved in diversified-terroristic activities. Giuniashvili was detained on June 8, 2016, for allegedly illegally crossing the Administrative Border Line (ABL) with South Ossetia.
According to the State Security Service, the court ruling was on February 3.
In an official statement, the State Security Service said that: “The decision of the so-called court, as well as the accusations against Giunashvili, are made up and lack legitimacy. The State Security Service will do everything to get Giunashvili out of this unlawful prison.”
Giunashvili’s family is asking for help and says that they are unable to contact him in any way.
There have been a number of detentions of Georgian citizens on the Administrative Boundary Line. On February 2, two women from Tbilisi were detained; on February 5, 47-year old Jimsher Tielidze was also arrested for allegedly illegally trespassing. According to locals, he was collecting firewood.
In the summer of 2016 a father and son were also taken into custody for allegedly illegally crossing the occupation line.
In 2016, Minister for Reconciliation Paata Zakareishvili commented on the detention and release of civilians at the Administrative Boundary Line, stating that “during the reign of the last government, those detained would not be released for months. Now they are released in two or three days.” Zakareishvili claimed that the current government's handling of this issue is far more efficient.