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Khatuna Charaeva – One More Hostage of MIA

Mari Otarashvili

Young Lawyers Association will sue the Ministry of Internal Affairs at court. MIA did not allow the association to defend detainee Khatuna Charaeva from Akhalgori district. Lawyer of the GYLA Nino Khaindrava reported she has been unsuccessfully requesting case materials from the MIA for more than one month. Relatives of the detainee do not have information about the detainee. Since detention, Khatuna Charaeva disappeared.

Since the MIA refused to release case materials, the attorney appealed to the prosecutor’s office. “When the MIA refused, I thought documents were sent to the prosecutor’s office. But representatives of the prosecutor’s office said no documents were sent to their office,” said Nino Khaindrava.

Georgian law enforcement officers detained Khatuna Charaeva from Akhalgori for the possession of false money on December 21, 2009. Relatives of the detainee claim the accusation is false and they think it was political revenge and nothing more. 90% of Akhalgori population has same position. They said in their interview with the Human Rights Center that 30 000 USD was planted on Charaeva by the policemen.

Residents of Akhalgori say Charaeva is a good person. They claim she has never done anything bad and always kept her family by hard work.

“Two children of Khatuna live in Tskhinvali. Her daughter was married in Gori. Charaeva lives in the village of Nagomev in Akhalgori district. They are very hard-working people. They have cows and grow many potatoes and sell cheese to earn their living. Khatuna has old parents-in-law who live in Akhalgori. Khatuna arrived in Dusheti by roundabout. Policemen detained her in Didube district in Tbilisi. Apparently, they were informed that she would be in Tbilisi by that time. She arrived in Tbilisi to sell wall-nut. Police claims they discovered false 30 000 USD in the walnut. I cannot claim but it is very suspicious accusation. First of all, who could give her such a huge sum in Nagomev and even if it happened, why should she have taken the money to Tbilisi? Human rights defender from South Caucasus Davit Sanakoev requested assistance from the European Commissionaire Thomas Hammarberg. If this accusation were true, they should not have applied to the commissionaire. At least, 90 % of local people think that police planted 30 000 USD on Charaeva,” said a resident of Akhalgori.

Brother-in-law of the detainee connects Charaeva’s detention with political revenge. In his interview with the Human Rights Center he said policemen planted false money on his sister-in-law. Merab Charaev has his argument to claim it.

Merab Charaev: “It is fabricated accusation. 30 000 USD was planted on my sister-in-law under force. My nephews often visited Tskhinvali and Georgian side did not like it very much. They presumed that my nephews had some politically grounded links with certain people in Tskhinvali. It is nonsense. I will not surrender. I have already hired an attorney and will try to free my sister-in-law because she has poor health.”

Representative of the de-facto president of South Ossetia in post-conflict regulation Boris Chochiev immediately responded to the detention of Khatuna Charaeva. Chochiev said accusation against Charaeva was fabricated. In order to avoid similar incidents and misunderstandings, Chochiev did not exclude possibility to restrict crossing of the so called administrative border for more security of Ossetian population. Or he even spoke about complete closing of the border.

“The government of Georgia makes life of Akhalgori district more and more unbearable. Now, they detain district residents for various accusations and support local people to abandon the area. We have already informed EU observers about the detention of Charaeva,” said Chochiev who added that Akhalgori district population internally displaced only because of the government of Georgia. “Nobody has evicted them from houses.”

Attorney cannot study case materials. So, she cannot comment on the reasons of Charaeva’s detention.

“I have not read case materials and I do not know what she is accused for. As for the claiming that she is political hostage, it is well-known fact that after war many people were arbitrarily detained on both sides of administrative border. Thus, this detention can also be politically grounded. Intention of the MIA to prolong the case discussion proves this claiming. Consequently, they do not allow us to study case materials,” said Nino Khaindrava.

The Human Rights Center tried to get in touch with the head of Information and Analytic Department of the MIA Shota Utiashvili about this issue but in vain.

It is noteworthy, that Charaeva has heart problems and her health conditions are very grave. We hope the law enforcement bodies will consider this problem.

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