Georgian citizens released after capture by occupying forces

Based on official data, 987 Georgian citizens have been detained in Tskhinvali region between 2008-2016. Photo by Nino Alavidze/, 16 May 2017 - 16:01, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian citizens kidnapped by troops occupying the country’s breakaway Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region have been released earlier today after paying fees to their captors.

The four locals were captured on Monday by Russian-controlled border guards on the territory of Khashuri Municipality, bordering the occupied region from the west.

The incident took place in villages of Tsaghvali and Brolosani, where the residents were collecting harvest.

They were unexpectedly captured for alleged "illegal” crossing of the administrative boundary line (ABL), erected by the occupying forces separating the Tskhinvali region from the rest of Georgia. The kidnapped individuals deny they had crossed the ABL.

I was still on the [Khashuri] Municipality territory when they snuck up on me from behind and captured me. They also told me their territory extended further behind my location”, one of the released locals told Imedi TV reporters.

The captured citizens were released from their detention in the occupied regional capital city Tskhinvali after paying a fee of 2,000 rubles (about 90 GEL or $35).

Today’s release followed talks involving Georgia’s State Security Service through the European Union Monitoring Mission hotline.

The kidnapping on Monday was the latest in a series of frequent capture of residents living in Georgian villages along the ABL.

Over 130 people were detained by guards patrolling the occupation line in 2016, based on information released by the Georgian security service.