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Whereabouts of Two Georgian Citizens Arrested at Dagestani Border Is Still Unknown

December 25, 2007
The whereabouts of twenty-three-year-old Shota Mamukishvili and twenty-one-year-old Mishiko Javakhishvili, inhabitants of the village of Shilda in Kvareli district is still unidentified. They were last seen by family members on July 11. Since that the only information they received is that missing people went hunting and lost their ways in the street. Finally it turned out that boys were arrested by Russian frontiers for illegal crossing of border.

Natela Asabashvili, mother of Mishiko Javakhishvili, said that her son and Shota Mamukishvili were close friends and often spent holidays together. “Mishka last left home on July 11 and I have not seen him since that time. I knew that he had to go to the mountains with Shota. They often stayed at shepherds’ houses there. Several days later my neighbor told me that he heard news on the radio that Russian frontiers had arrested two Georgian citizens and one of them was my son,” said Natela Asabashvili.

Having heard the news Shota Mamukashvili’s brother Dato Mamukashvili called their relative in Russia and asked to find out exact information about his brother. “My uncle arrived in Makhachkala where he learned that Mishiko and Shota were arrested by Russian frontiers for illegal crossing of border. They have been disappeared for six months already and Shota called me on the phone only once; he said he was in Russian prison but did not know exact location of it, as well as reason of his detention. It is obscure what will happen with him. We cannot get in touch with them,” said Dato Mamukishvili.

The brother of the lost boy also mentioned that both Georgian Frontier Police Department and Ministry of Foreign Affairs have information about the incident. However, none of governmental bodies have assisted the families.

It is not first and only occasion when Russian frontiers detain people for illegal crossing of border in Kvareli District. Giorgi Beriashvili, a resident of Shilda recalled that he had also been detained with his five friends by Russian frontiers. “The Georgian-Russian border is not well marked. We were hunting in the forest and suddenly they arrested us. They bounded our eyes and dragged to the pre-trial detention isolator in Dagestan where we spent 13 days in unbearable conditions. Afterwards they released us without any explanation,” said Beriashvili.

Shilda borders with Dagestan and is twenty kilometers away from it. Locals claim that Russian frontiers crossed the border themselves and arrested Georgian citizens. “Several years ago we did not cope with similar problems. The situation has become tenser since the relationships between our countries worsened; we are afraid of going to the forest and mountain. Nobody will pay attention to us if Russian frontiers arrest us on our territory,” said Tamaz Kuprashvili.

Gocha Lomidze, the head of the Frontier Police Lagodekhi Division of the Georgian Frontier Police Department stated the complaints of the population are groundless. He added that in July of 2007 they were informed from Russian side that their frontiers arrested two Georgian citizens Shota Mamukishvili and Mishiko Javakhishvili on their territory.

-Mr. Gocha, when they delivered that information to you did not they tell you the reason of detention?

-According to the Russian Frontier Security Department those people were detained for illegal crossing of border. The young people were initially placed in the pre-trial detention isolator of Makhachkala district in Dagestan and then local Prosecutor’s Office was put in charge of investigating their case. As for farther situation I do not know anything about it.

-Do you know what kind of punishment Georgian citizens will face in Russia for illegal crossing of border and who will assist them in Russia when they are imprisoned?

-I am planning to travel to Russia at the end of December and I will find out the situation about it by all means. However, as far as I know the Russian frontiers found automatic fire-guns on Mamukishvili and Javakhishvili and it was another reason for their arrest.

-Mr. Gocha, residents of Shilda mentioned in their conversation that the detainees had close relationship with Georgian frontiers in the near the territory where boys got lost. Locals claim that our frontiers had lent them automatic fire-guns for hunting.

-It is not right. A frontier is responsible for his weapon and is categorically warned against giving guns to other people.

Regarding Mamukishvili and Javakhishvili’s case we tried to get in touch with the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs where nobody wished to make comments.

Kvareli District Department of the Internal Ministry gives positive reference on Shota Mamukishvili and Mishiko Javakhishvili.

Residents of the village of Shilda urge the Embassy of Russian Federation in Georgia and Georgian Public Defender to assist them.

Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti