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Statistics of Kidnapping of Georgian Citizens across the Occupation Line


Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli 

From January 1 to June 27, 2017 78 citizens of Georgia have been abducted alongside the occupation line for the alleged charge of illegal crossing of the so-called border with the de-facto South Ossetia. Press-center of the State Security Service provided humanrights.ge with the statistics. The statistics for each month is the following: 7 citizens were abducted in January, 2017; 7 citizens in February; 8 – in March, 8 in April, 8 in May, 27 in June and 12 in July. In 2016, 134 citizens of Georgia were arrested for the crossing of the so-called border.

Zaza Berianidze and Levan Turashvili were arrested nearby St. Trinity Church in Bershueti village on July 23 claiming that they had illegally crossed the so-called border. The detainees were released after the fine was paid. The Tskhinvali side delivered Berianidze and Turashvili to Georgian law enforcement officers on July 25 in Ergneti village.

Zaza Berianidze said they were arrested in the territory controlled by the Georgian authority and added that in Tskhinvali they were warned it was prohibited to approach the banners set up alongside the occupation line closer than 200 meters. 

“We were arrested in the territory of our village; we did not walk into the occupied territory,” Zaza Berianidze said after he was released from Tskhinvali detention setting on July 25.

On July 25, because of moving occupation line and frequent kidnapping of people, civil activists started patrolling in the villages of Karapila and Bershueti. One of the organizers of the public action Davit Katsarava said it is one of the forms to stop the moving occupation and kidnapping of people.

“We are patrolling very close to the border. We act in coordination with our law enforcement bodies. There is risk because Russian occupants do not refrain from using any method to kidnap peaceful population from the nearby territories,” Katsarava said.
“Lekianoba (looting by Dagestanian people in Kakheti region in XVI-XVII centuries) of the 21st Century” – political secretary of the National Forum Soso Vakhtangashvili evaluated the frequent kidnapping of locals alongside the occupation line. 

The political secretary of the National Forum requests the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia to install cameras alongside the occupation line. It is the only way to reduce the number of kidnappings in the current situation; on the other hand with it we will be able to estimate from where citizens of Georgia are kidnapped. 

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