Georgian PM commemorates servicemember tortured, killed by occupation forces

  • Medical professionals established over 100 injuries on Archil Tatunashvili’s  body following the transfer after 26 days from his death in the occupied Tskhinvali region., 22 Feb 2023 - 18:54, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Wednesday commemorated Archil Tatunashvili, a retired servicemember who was tortured and killed by Russian-controlled occupation forces in the country’s occupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region on this day in 2018. 

Describing Tatunashvili as a “hero of contemporary Georgia”, the head of the Government pledged to hold those responsible for his death accountable, adding his office was doing “its utmost” to achieve the goal. 

Tatunashvili is a role model for future generations for his dignity, perseverance and patriotism”, the PM stressed. 

The retired Junior Sergeant was detained along with two other Georgian citizens on February 22, 2018 in the occupied Akhalgori area by Russian-controlled de facto “border guards”, allegedly for his service during the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia that mostly took place in the Tskhinvali region.

The de facto authorities announced his death the following day due to “heart-related problems”, with the 35-year-old’s body handed over to Georgian authorities 26 days after his death, following lengthy talks. Medical professionals established over 100 injuries on his body following the transfer.

In September 2018, the Interpol issued a red notice for two individuals, David Gurtsiev and Alik Tabuev, who were charged with Tatunashvili’s murder in absentia. A court in the Georgian city of Mtskheta subsequently sentenced the offenders to life imprisonment in absentia in 2020.

Tatunashvili’s name was also used to draft the Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili List of offenders targeted with sanctions for violations of human rights in Georgia’s occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali. The list was supported by the Council of Europe in 2019.