A captain of a Turkish-operated cargo vessel, seized last month after trying to deliver fuel to breakaway Abkhazia, was released, the Georgian court said on September 8.
The Supreme Court said that Turkish citizen, Mehmet Coskun Öztürk was released after he pled guilty that was followed by plea bargaining. As a result, the captain was given a three-year conditional sentence, plus GEL 30,000 fine (about USD 17,500).
The move comes hours after visiting Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, met with President Saakashvili on September 8.
“As far as I know at a meeting the President [Saakashvili] has decided that the captain will be released,” Vashadze told Civil.Ge in brief remarks when asked about the matter earlier on September 8.
The Georgian court found Öztürk, guilty of smuggling and violation of Georgia’s law on occupied territories, banning economic activity in breakaway Abkhazia without Georgia’s consent, and sentenced him to 24 years in prison on August 31.