Georgian officials have expressed their concern that Georgian citizen Khvicha Mghebrishvili has been recently sentenced to three months of pretrial detention by a so-called court in the Russia-occupied Tskhinvali region.
Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia told journalists today that the government is working with its international partners to solve the issue.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry has called Mghebrishvili’s sentencing ‘a provocative and destructive’ decision, which worsens ‘already grave’ security and humanitarian situation on the ground.
It is embarrassing that the Russian occupying forces continue illegal detention and kidnapping of Georgian citizens”, Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Mari Narchemashvili said.
She noted that Georgian citizens Khvicha Mghebrishvili, Genadi Bestaevi and Zaza Gakheladze remain in illegal detention for a couple of months now.
Narchemashvili also added that the reason behind Mgherishvili's detention has been ‘cynical’.
It is the part of disinformation and propaganda campaign that the occupying forces are carrying out against the [Tbilisi-based] Lugar lab”, Narchemashvili stated.
The so-called security committee of the occupied Tskhinvali region reported in mid-July that Mghebrishvili was going to catch bats in Russia-controlled territory on July 3 when he was detained.
Tskhinvali alleged that Mghebrishvili was ‘interested in bats that live in the villages of Artsevi and Ghromi in Gori municipality’.
They also accused the Lugar laboratory (formally the Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research) of ‘showing interest’ in bats of the region for research purposes.