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Georgian Justice: ¼ Century for «Buket»2009-09-01 20:14
The Poti court sentenced the captain of the Buket tanker detained by the Georgian part to a punishment comparable to the term of imprisonment for murder: 24 year. At the same time the citizen of Turkey was accused of «large-scale violation of customs rules and violation of occupied territory entrance rules». The destiny of the other members of the crew consisting of Azerbaijanian and Turkish citizens remains unknown. So far the West keeps silent, it is the turn of the Abkhazian part that promised to arrest Georgian vessels in the neutral waters of the Black Sea.
The sensational story of the Turkish tanker «Buket» carrying fuel for Sukhumi and detained in the Black Sea area on 17 August is growing like a snowball. At the beginning Abkhazia called the acts of the Georgian frontier police an act of provocation, and the president of the young republic Sergey Bagapsh wrote an open letter to the Chairman of the UN Security Council John Sowers, to the Senior Representative of the European Union for External Policy and Security Xavier Solana and to the French President Nicolas Sarkozy asking them to gain insight into the acts of Georgia and evaluate them in an adequate manner.
The West kept silent, and two days later Georgia detained the Afrostar dry-cargo that carried metal to Sukhumi. Then Abkhazia turned to Russia for help. And now under the bilateral agreement on the protection of state borders of the republic the ships and boats of the FSB coast guard will accompany and, if required, protect the vessels entering the maritime belt of the young republic.
It is notable that before the information on the support of vessels in neutral waters received from Moscow the possible punishment of the Buket captain varied from a money penalty to two months. But it looks like the actions of Russia who promised its help to the republic have become for Georgia a reason to show its airs and hold a «show trial» over the tanker captain. The Turk was given almost a quarter of a century for the «large-scale violation of customs rules and violation of occupied territory entrance rules».
The reaction of the official Sukhumi was not late in coming. The Chief of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sergey Shamba stressed that by its actions Georgia is pushing Abkhazia to taking adequate measures and arresting vessels going to Georgia, says Interfax. «This will be our \response to the pirate-like actions of the Georgian frontier guards», said the minister.
According to Shamba, the declarations of the representatives of Tbilisi on the fact that they detain vessels in the Abkhazian water area are contrary to fact, as Georgian guards arrested all the vessels in the neutral area in breach of the international navigation law. «For 15 years following the armed conflict with Georgia Abkhazia has taken diplomatic measures to solve the problems with our neighbour in a civilized manner, - emphasized the diplomat. - But even a worm will turn. Provocative acts are performed onshore, on the sea, in the air, while our letters to the UN and EU are just ignored».
The tough response of Shamba can be perfectly reasoned. First of all, considering the new status of Abkhazia on the geopolitical map of the Northern Caucasus, the tanker was not arrested in the Georgian area but in the neutral one. Thus, the fact that Georgia arrested a commercial ship in the neutral area runs contrary to the international maritime and humanitarian law, as cargoes carried from Turkey to Abkhazia are exclusively pacific.