United States Acting Deputy Chief of mission to the OSCE Elisabeth Rosenstock-Siller said in her address to the Permanent Council on Thursday that the US condemns the recent sentencing of Georgian citizen Zaza Gakheladze in Russian-occupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region.
The United States condemns the sentencing of Georgian citizen Zaza Gakheladze to 12 years and six months in prison, after Russian-led security actors shot and detained him nearly seven months ago along the South Ossetia Administrative Boundary Line. https://t.co/p2FydO4RgF pic.twitter.com/8pIjRVx87c— U.S. mission to OSCE (@usosce) February 11, 2021
Expressing solidarity with Gakheladze, his family and all families ‘who have had to endure Russia’s oppressive occupation’, Elisabeth Rosenstock-Siller said Gakheladze’s sentencing is ‘yet another example of Russia’s attempts to control and exploit the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia’.
Russian actions threaten the lives, human rights, culture, and personal freedoms of people living in and near these occupied Georgian territories and deny them the ability to exercise rights and access opportunities that should be available to all Georgian citizens”, she added.
Demanding that Russia cease ‘its blatant violations of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity’ Rosenstock-Siller said Moscow ‘must comply with its obligation under the 2008 ceasefire agreement to withdraw its forces to pre-conflict positions’.
We also call on Russia to reverse its recognition of the so-called independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and fulfil its commitment to provide unfettered access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance”, she concluded.
Supporting Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, the US pledges to ‘continue to work with Georgia, the Geneva International Discussions, the Group of Friends of Georgia at the OSCE, and in other international fora, to hold Russia to account’.
Gakheladze, who was shot and illegally detained by Russian-controlled occupation forces last year, was sentenced to 12 years and six months last Friday. The international community condemns Gakheladze's sentencing, calling for his immediate release.