Ergneti meeting discusses the fate of illegally detained Georgians

Ergneti meetings are held in a special tent erected near the occupation line. Photo by EUMM Georgia., 24 Feb 2016 - 13:48, Tbilisi,Georgia

In the past month 10 Georgian citizens have been illegally detained near the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) dividing breakaway Tskinvali region (South Ossetia) from the rest of Georgia.

All of these people were captured by Russian guards, accused of "illegally crossing the state border” and taken to a detention centre in Tskhinvali. Of the 10 people, eight have been released while two remain unlawfully in prison.

The fate of those two people will be the main topic raised by the Georgian side at today’s incident meeting in Ergneti.

Ergneti is a central Georgian village where a barbed wire fence installed by Russian occupants is erected. The village regularly hosts meetings of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) group, facilitated by the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM).

EUMM is the only international mission monitoring the situation between Georgia and its breakaway Tskhinvali region. Since there are no official relations between Georgia and the occupied region, both sides use a hotline established by the EUMM to report all incidents that take place along the ABL. Afterwards, both sides gather to discuss all reported cases at a monthly Ergneti meeting.

The 62th Ergneti meeting on January 20, 2016. Photo by EUMM Georgia.

Today the 63th Ergneti meeting will take place. As well as the unlawful detention of citizens, the Georgian side would raise another issue about the current whereabouts of a Georgian man who disappeared earlier this month near the occupied territory. Georgia has not received information of the man’s location and his detention has not been confirmed either.

Ergneti meetings are attended by UNMM conflict resolution experts, Georgian officials and South Ossetian de facto officials.

The previous meeting took place on January 20.