The United Kingdom and Norway have joined the calls of foreign states for the ‘immediate release’ of illegally convicted Georgian citizen Zaza Gakheladze by Russian-controlled occupation forces.
Gakheladze was shot and illegally detained last year near Georgia’s breakaway Tskhinvali region (on the Tbilisi-controlled territory) and was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison earlier this week.
UK calls for immediate release of Mr Gakheladze who has been illegally imprisoned for 12.5 years in breakaway region of South Ossetia. All ???????? citizens should have right to travel within ???????? internationally recognised borders.— UK in Georgia (@UKinGeorgia) February 8, 2021
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Helene Sand Andresen, ambassador of Norway to Georgia has tweeted that the ‘illegal detention’ is ‘unacceptable.’
Extending illegal detention of Georgian citizen Zaza Gakheladze to 12.5 yrs unacceptable. I join my colleagues in calling for his immediate release from prison in Tskhinvali and safe return to his family. #NorwayInGeorgia https://t.co/TLqCtpiLyL— Helene Sand Andresen (@SandAndresen) February 6, 2021
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia has met with EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell and US Ambassador Kelly Degnan, requesting support to secure the release of Gakheladze.
De facto court in Tskhinvali found Gakheladze guilty of ‘illegally crossing the border and attempted murder.’
The Georgian State Security Security has stated that ‘Russia is responsible for the illegal decision’ and for all the ‘criminal and inhumane’ acts which are taking place along with the occupation of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali.