German tourist illegally detained by Russian-controlled guards in occupied Abkhazia

  • A crossing-point on the line of control between Georgia and the breakaway Abkazia region. Photo by TASS
  • A crossing-point on the line of control between Georgia and the breakaway Abkazia region. Photo by TASS, 23 May 2017 - 00:00, Tbilisi,Georgia

Russian-controlled "border guards” have arrested a German tourist who accidentally crossed the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) that separates the occupied Abkhazia region from the rest of Georgia.

The occupants treat the ABL between the breakaway region and the rest of Georgia as a "state border” so all cases of crossing the line are treated as "illegal border crossings”.

Local media reported that the Russian border authorities handed the detained tourists to de-facto Abkhazian law-enforcers for "further procedures”.

Reports also said that the detained German citizen said he was hiking and was unaware he was crossing the ABL. 

Reportedly, he crossed the ABL from the Georgian-controlled side.

The incident took place in the village of Pichori in the occupied Gali municipality.

The Georgian State Security Service confirmed the German citizen was illegally detained by the Russian-controlled guards stationed along the ABL. The Agency said the European Union Monitoring mission is already informed about the incident and "intense efforts” are being made to free the tourist.

Russia recognised Abkhazia and the other Georgian breakaway region of Tskhinvali as independent countries after a military armed conflict with Georgia in 2008. As of today, only four countries recognise Georgia’s breakaway regions as independent republics; these are Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru.

Following the war Russian border guards set new Administrative Boundary Lines (ABLs) between Georgia and the occupied Abkhazia region and Georgia and occupied Tskhinvali region, erected a barbed wire fence spanning kilometres along these arbitrary lines through Georgian villages and announced it was the new "state border.”

More than 900 Georgian citizens have been detained along the occupation line in 8 years.