Guard who killed Georgian near Abkhaz border sentenced in absentia to 14 years

  • Giga Otkhozoria, 31, was shot six times by border guards who stand on patrol between Georgia and breakaway Abkhazia. Photo from Giga Otkhozoria’s Facebook page., 10 Mar 2017 - 17:35, Tbilisi,Georgia

The person accused of murdering Giga Otkhozoria last year near the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) separating Georgia and its breakaway region of Abkhazia has been given two additional years of detention, which now makes for 14-years of imprisonment in total.

Zugdidi City Court had sentenced Rashid Kanjiogli with 12-year imprisonment on December 26, 2016. However, the prosecution applied for the Court of Appeals to rule a heavier punishment. Kutaisi Court of Appeals today granted the petition of appeal and aggravated punishment of Kanjiogli convicted of murder of Giga Otkhozoria and illegal purchase, carrying and storage of firearm, and sentenced him to deprivation of liberty for a term of 14 years.

Otkhozoria was trying to transport food into the breakaway region for a funeral ceremony of his late aunt on May 19, 2016. Locals said the border guards demanded Otkhozoria pay a fine in exchange for transporting the goods, which caused a dispute. They said Otkhozoria ran away from the border guards but was shot as he retreated.

Otkhozoria was on Georgian-controlled territory at around 2:30 p.m when he was gunned down by Russian-controlled border guards stationed near the ABL. Witnesses say that Kanji-Oghli then hid in occupied Abkhazia after shooting Otkhozoria six times.

Calling it "a case of Georgia’s honour”, Otkhozoria’s family demands Kanjiogli to serve his legal sentence.

The murder of the Georgian man was the main issue raised at the restored Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meetings in Gali, Abkhazia last year.

The IPRM meetings were established as a peacekeeping tool that allow conflicting parties to discuss issues face-to-face.