The Russian military have exchanged twelve Georgian servicemen for Roman Dumbadze, a former Georgian military commander, who was serving a prison sentence in Georgia for high treason, officials said.
The twelve Georgians were among a group of soldiers detained by Russian troops in the port town of Poti on August 18. Ten of them were released on August 22.
Maj. Gen. Roman Dumbadze, who was the commander of the Batumi-based 25th brigade of the Georgian armed forces, was arrested in 2004 after he defied the Georgian central authorities and pledged loyalty to Aslan Abashidze, the then leader of the Adjaran Autonomous Republic. Dumbadze was arrested after Abashidze fled to Russia in May 2004.
Givi Targamadze, a lawmaker from the ruling National Movement Party, who chairs Parliament’s defense and security committee, said that Maj. Gen. Alexander Borisov of the Russian army, who was engaged in the talks, had proposed the exchange. Borisov, according to Targamadze, cited that he personally knew Dumbadze, having served at the Russian military base in Batumi years ago.
“The life of a single Georgian serviceman is much more important for us than the fate of a traitor,” Targamadze, who was also a participant in the talks, said on August 28.