The de facto Foreign Ministry of Georgia’s Russian-occupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region has accused Tbilisi and the international community of interfering ‘in its internal issues’ for condemning the recent illegal conviction of Georgian citizen Zaza Gakheladze by occupation forces.
Gakheladze was shot and illegally detained last year near Georgia’s breakaway Tskhinvali region (on Tbilisi-controlled territory) and was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison earlier this week.
The EU, US and many other foreign states, as well as PACE Georgia monitors, have condemned the ‘illegal detention and conviction’ and demanded Gakheladze’s ‘immediate release.’
PACE Georgia monitors Titus Corlățean and @claude_kern express deep concern at the illegal sentencing in #Tskhinvali of Georgian citizen Zaza #Gakheladze: "This is an illegal sentence by an illegal court"https://t.co/Okgd0YWo9v pic.twitter.com/9VrhR4UFe6— PACE (@PACE_News) February 9, 2021
The de facto Foreign Ministry of Tskhinvali says that Gakheladze ‘was punished according to the crime he committed and not according to his nationality.’
De facto court in Tskhinvali found Gakheladze guilty of ‘illegally crossing the border and the attempted murder of a border guard.’
Strong statements and ultimatums for the release of Gakheladze are very absurd,” said the de facto ministry.
The aide of de facto president of Tskhinvali for post-conflict issues Murat Jioev has stated that the court has delivered ‘the lightest verdict’ in the case and that ‘groundless accusations are an insult to Russia and South Ossetia.’
The central Georgian government 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 and urged the international community to take ‘genuine steps’ to secure the release of Gakheladze.