Five Georgian hikers detained by Ossetian guards several days ago have been released.
Parents, friends, the Georgian police and security officers were waiting for the five Georgian hikers at the Ergneti check point, where the young travelers were handed over to representatives of the local police around 17:00 Tbilisi local time.
They were released after their families paid a fine of 2,000 Russian roubles (about 70 GEL, 27 USD) for each tourist.
Earlier today Georgia’s Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Gakharia, while on his official visit to Azerbaijan, commented on the arrest of the hikers and called it a “regrettable, thought-provoking and concerning case”.
He said that the Georgian police worked in cooperation with the state security to resolve the issue, and that the detained Georgian citizens are safe and feel good and they will return to their families today.
The released travelers did not give any comments to the media and were transferred to the local police station for the questioning.
The families of the hikers say they lost connection with their relatives on Sunday.
The young hikers from Tbilisi started their journey on Friday to reach Kelis Lake in the pictorial Truso Gorge in northeastern Georgia in Kazbegi Municipality.
The so-called ‘State Security Committee of South Ossetia’ published the statement yesterday and confirmed that hikers Beka Magradze, Ketevan Magradze, Mzia Gomuri, Vakhtang Gubeladze, Gia Baghdoshvili had been detained by Ossetian border guards in the Truso Gorge for ‘violating the state border’ with Georgia’s occupied region of Tskhinvali (South Ossetia).