South Ossetia ABL: risk of arrest by Russian border guards (photo: Jelger Groeneveld)

[2017 archive] Arrests near ABL South Ossetia

Georgian civilians living around the Administrative Boundary Line frequently experience arrest, abduction and detention by Russian or South Ossetian “border guards” for alleged violation and trespassing of the “border”.

This is the archived 2017 page, click here for the current running year. Jump to 2020, 2019 or 2018.

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In April 2018 Georgia’s State Security Service (SSS) released its annual report. It recollects 126 Georgian citizens were illegally detained by Russia-controlled border guards in 2017, at the administrative boundary line with South Ossetia. And 52 others at the Abkhazian administrative boundary line. The individuals were detained for the “illegal crossing of the border” and many of them were released shortly after paying a fine. According to the South Ossetia de facto authorities a total of 514 “violators of the state border with Georgia were detained“, reportedly 11% less than in 2016.

26 November 2017

As a result of long negotiations between the Georgian side and the South Ossetian de facto authorities, Georgian citizen Georgy Giunashvili, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in South Ossetia in 2016, was released.

Caucasian Knot: According to the KGB of South Ossetia, Giorgi Giunashvili was a member of a “self-defense group” in the village of Diseu, Tskhinvali region, which the South Ossetian side considers an illegal armed group. In 2007, Giunashvili detonated a grenade in a crowded place in the village of Khelchua, and in 2008 he allegedly fired at a patrol group of the South Ossetian Defense Ministry. During the meetings in the format of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms, the Georgian side repeatedly demanded the release of Giunashvili. 

3 and 5 November 2017

Two Georgians (46 and 42 yr) were detained on 3 and 5 November 2017 near Balta, near the South Ossetia ABL. The men are residents of nearby Atotsi and Chvrinisi villages. A few days later they were released and handed over to Georgian authorities after a court fined them. 

30 October 2017

A Georgian from the Gori region, Gennady Bestaev, born in 1968, was detained on 30 October 2017 for “illegally crossing the border” near Khelchua in the Tskhinvali region, the KGB press service of South Ossetia reported. He was charged with violating article 322 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (illegal border crossing). “It was established that the person in question had already been detained in August and September of this year for similar offenses and was subjected to administrative liability with subsequent expulsion from the republic,” said a message posted on the committee’s official Facebook page. He was sentenced to two months pre-trial detention.

18 October 2017

A Georgian citizen was detained by “Immigration control officers” of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of South Ossetia on 18 October 2017 in the southwestern outskirts of Tskhinvali “for violating the border”. He was released a few days later after paying a fine.

13 October 2017

Shepherds Kakha Begeluri and Givi Kisiev were detained in the “border zone” today, near their village Tsitelubani. Begeluri contacted his family and told his relatives that they were detained by armed men while he and Kisiev were herding the village cattle. They were taken to the police station in the South Ossetian village of Tsinagar.

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