Officials discuss unlawful detention of Georgian citizens

The 44th meeting of IPRM is currently being held in the Georgian village Ergneti., 29 Apr 2014 - 04:42, Tbilisi,Georgia

Conflict resolution experts have descended on the Georgian village of Ergneti to discuss issues that are plaguing the troubled region following the detention of Georgian citizens near the occupation line. 

The 44th meeting within the frame of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) was held last evening. 

Several issues were discussed at the meeting, including the issue of Georgian citizens being detained by so-called Russian borders guards. 

It has been reported two of the arrested men were Besik Gelashvili and Giorgi Kharazishvili. The men live in the Kldistskharo village, in the Khashuri region.

The men were gathering capers in the forest near the occupation line in the Torcha village when they were arrested.

At today's meeting, the participants discussed the current security situation in the region and the recent issue of Georgian citizen detention, read a statement issued by the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) after the meeting.

"Work of the hotline was assessed as an effective tool to help solve specific issues, such as the case of releasing the detained journalists before the Easter holidays. In addition, the parties discussed a number of issues such as living conditions of the local population [and] accessibility on rural-agricultural lands,” the statement read.

Meanwhile before the meeting started, Gocha Ratiani of the Internal Ministry's Analytical Department said several issues would be discussed at the meeting. 

"Of course, first of all we will protest the arrests of the journalists as well as detainment (of Georgian citizens) in general, which have been carried out lately. The issue of the people who are currently detained in the prison of occupied Tskhinvali will also be raised. In addition we will discuss the water communication problem in the village Koshka,” he said.

The South Ossetian side did not comment before entering the meeting. However it was reported today that the de-facto government of South Ossetia demanded the release of those accused in the Gori terrorist attacks in exchange for the Georgians detained in Tskhinvali prison.

Ratiani noted that this issue could not be solved easily and a number of details still needed to be discussed.

At today’s meeting the Georgian side offered an initiative to the Ossetian colleagues about a new mailing mechanism.

The IPRM was created in February 2009 as a result of the Geneva Discussions that followed the 2008 conflict in Georgia. The meetings are an opportunity to identify and discuss potential risks, the follow-up of incidents and issues affecting the communities on a daily basis. The meetings are co-facilitated by the OSCE and the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia.