Three Georgian women detained near occupation line

The location of the detained women is still unknown. Photo by RFE/RL, 25 Apr 2014 - 15:58, Tbilisi,Georgia

Russian-led troops have abducted three local women who live in a village near the occupation line of  the so-called South Ossetia.

The women - Rusudan Khuroshvili, Zeinab Kharkheli and Lali Khuroshvili – were from the Khurvaleti village.

The trio were arrested by the so-called border guards on the outskirts of the village and unlawfully taken in the direction of the Ossettian-controlled territory.

The women are accused of "illegally crossing” the so-called border. According to the local population, the women were following their cattle when they were arrested.

The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed various international authorities about the abduction.

Deputy Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said the Incident Prevention Group, Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) and Swiss Embassy were aware of the current situation.

"The Ministry of Internal Affairs is aware of the fact. A hotline is functioning within the scope of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM). Through this hotline, all concerned parties are involved in the process, including the MIA,” Zalkaliani said.

"The co-chairmen of the Geneva format have also been informed. In addition, I met with the Ambassador of Switzerland today. As you know, Switzerland represents the Russian interest section and is the co-chair from the OSCE side. They are also aware of everything and we expect that in near future a decision about their release will be made,” he said.

Meanwhile family members of the trio said they had not been contacted and the whereabouts of the women were unknown.

Ossetian authorities had spoken to Georgian police and confirmed three women had been arrested.

Governor of the region Zurab Rusishvili relayed this information when he met with the family of the detained women and local village residents.

He reiterated he did not know where the women were currently being held.

"Unfortunately the occupation regime continues where the same action of arresting our citizens in the surrounding villages of the occupation line continues,” Rusishvili said.

"However the Georgian Government is doing everything it can to inform the international community [about such unlawful acts]. In addition, work is being done so the detainees can be released to as soon as possible.”

Ossettian authorities claimed the women were arrested for "illegally crossing” the so-called border.

Village residents said the health condition of one of the women was "unstable”.

It is understood the woman suffered from asthma and tuberculosis and was undergoing intensive treatment in recent months.

All three women were from socially vulnerable families.