Giorgi Giunashvili, native of village Disevi in Tskhinvali district of South Ossetia, was sentenced to 20 years in prison by the de facto South Ossetian authorities.
The region’s State Security Committee said in its statement on February 7 that Giorgi Giunashvili was arrested in June, 2016 on charges of “subversive and terrorist activities.”
According to their statement, Giunashvili’s case was later transferred to the de facto Supreme Court, which upheld the charges and sentenced him to 20 years in prison on February 3.
Georgia’s State Security Service issued a statement on February 5 saying that the decision of the “so-called court”, as well as the charges against Giunashvili “are fabricated and illegitimate.”
“The State Security Service will spare no efforts to free Giunashvili from illegal imprisonment,” the statement reads.
The State Security Service added that Tbilisi would continue raising the issue at the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism meetings and the Geneva International Discussions.
Giunashvili’s detention was also regarded as “unlawful” by Georgia’s Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili.
According to the Public Defender’s February 7 statement, Giunashvili was arrested on charges of “the so-called illegal border crossing", but later, charges of “active participation in the “illegal armed groups", namely, the so-called defense group of village Disevi in Tskhinvali district,” were filed against him.
Nanuashvili added that “this unfortunate fact proves that the rights of the local population, including the internally displaced persons from the so-called South Ossetia [Giorgi Giunashvili has been displaced since the Georgian-Russian war in 2008], are still violated.” “They are subjected to illegal deprivation of liberty; their freedom of movement is restricted and their right to return to their homes is violated,” Nanuashvili added.
The Public Defender called on the de facto authorities “to take effective measures to restore the violated rights of Giorgi Giunashvili and release him” and on the Government of Georgia “to use all available means to release the citizen from the unlawful detention.”
Giunashvili was arrested by de facto authorities on June 4, 2016 on charges of “illegal border crossing” and was put to pretrial detention. Later, however, additional charges were filed against him.
According to the region’s State Security Committee, Giunashvili was sentenced on charges of organization of and participation in illegal armed group, terrorist act, attempted murder, and theft of weapons and ammunition.