Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili who met with the family of Zaza Gakheladze, a Georgian citizen illegally detained and sentenced by the Russia-backed occupying forces in Tskhinvali, said the government spares no efforts to release him as soon as possible.
PM Garibashvili told the family that the issue of Gakheladze’s release has been raised on the high political level and is being actively discussed with the international partners of Georgia.
Earlier in April the father, wife and daughters of Zaza Gakheladze visited him in occupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) jail with the support of International Committee of the Red Cross. Photo: PM's press office
Reiterating his support to the Gakheladze family Irakli Garibashvili said Zaza’s release from the illegal detention is one of the state’s key priorities.
Zaza Gakheladze was shot and arrested near the occupation line dividing the Tskhinvali region from the rest of Georgia last summer.
Earlier this year he was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison by the de facto Supreme Court for ‘illegally crossing the border and attempted murder’, which he denies.
Illegally detained Georgian citizens are mostly released after their families pay a fine. However, there have been several cases of Georgian citizens dying while in detention. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge
The international community has strongly condemned the detention and sentencing of Gakheladze, calling for his immediate release.
The Georgian State Security Service says illegal detention of Georgian citizens by the Russian-controlled occupation forces for so-called ‘illegally crossing the border’ is a common issue since 2008 when Russia recognised the Georgian regions of Tskhinvali and Abkhazia as independent states.