Russian guards illegally detain Georgian man near Tskhinvali ABL

The detention of Georgian citizens near the ABL is common, especially in spring and summer when local residents follow their grazing cattle or go to the forest to pick "jonjoli” (a variety of capers), mushrooms or wood., 22 Oct 2016 - 17:33, Tbilisi,Georgia

Russian-controlled border guards monitoring the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) between Georgia and one of its occupied regions have detained a Georgian man and accused him of illegally crossing the so-called border.

The man – Malkhaz Lezhava, 34 – was detained in Mejvriskhevi Village near the ABL with Georgia’s breakaway Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region.

Lezhava’s family lives near the ABL. The family's neighbours said the man was detained near his house. The neighbours said he was kidnapped by Russian-controlled guards despite being on Georgia-controlled territory. They claimed Lezhava never tried to cross the ABL.

Authorities understood Lezhava had been taken to a detention centre in Tskhinvali and charged with illegally crossing the so-called border.

Illegal detention of Georgian citizens by Russian guards is common practice near Tskhinvali ABL. Detainees are usually released once their family paid a fine.

Lezhava’s family has not yet been contacted and asked for a fine from the occupied side.