UPDATED: Border guard who killed Georgian man sentenced to home detention in Abkhazia

Agenda.ge, 23 Jun 2016 - 17:10, Tbilisi,Georgia

UPDATED: 5.10pm

The Military Court operating in Georgia’s de facto Abkhazia region has imposed a sentence of home detention on the border guard who shot and killed 31-year-old Georgian man Giga Otkhozoria on May 19 near the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) separating Georgia and the occupied region.

News of the verdict was reported by Russian online news agency Vestnik Kavkaza. 

The Military Prosecutor of de facto Abkhazia Adgur Agrba confirmed the Military Court’s verdict with the news agency this afternoon. 

Agrba said the Military Court of Abkhazia did not accept an appeal by the de facto region’s Prosecutor’s Office to arrest the alleged offender Rashid Kanji-oglu.

EARLIER: 2:31pm 

The Prosecutor’s Office of de facto Abkhazia is calling for the arrest of a border guard who shot and killed a Georgian man near the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) separating Georgia and the breakaway region.

A report by online media outlet Apsnypress, which operates in Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia region, stated the Prosecutor’s Office of de facto Abkhazia has appealed to the occupied region’s Military Court to arrest the border guard responsible for the brutal killing of Georgian man on May 19.

Apsnypress named the Russian-controlled border guard as Abkhazian man Rashid Kanji-oglu. The report said he had been charged with premeditated murder and removed from his position in Abkhazia’s State Security Service. 

Today Georgia’s Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Mgebrishvili said the de facto side's appeal for the border guard's arrest was "the right step", first of all for the safety of the alleged killer. The Minister noted a threat had been made to target the border guard and kill him, with the murder to be used against Georgia's interests.

Video footage released by Georgia showed the border guard gun down 31-year-old Georgian man Giga Otkhozoria in Khurcha village, which lies on Georgian-controlled territory near the ABL with Abkhazia. 

Otkhozoria was shot six times and died shortly after the incident after being taken to Zugdidi Regional Hospital. He left behind his wife and two children. 

Immediately after the shooting Georgia publically strongly condemned the murder and appealed to both the Russian and de facto Abkhazian side several times to arrest and appropriately punish the man who committed the offence. 

The issue of Otkhozoria’s murder was raised by the Georgian side at the recent Geneva International Talks and at the Gali International Prevention and Response Mechanism meeting.  

Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office also addressed Interpol to announce an international search for the man who killed Otkhozoria.

Several times Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili demanded the breakaway region to arrest the offending border guard, and said letting him remain free could potentially result in personal revenge attacks or other complications in the conflict area.

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