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Sunday, 24 June 2018


Risk area: secret prisons of Tbilisi

2010-10-20 20:09

9045.jpegAbkhaz Foreign Ministry has played its trump card in the information war with Georgia: Sukhum demands access to the neighboring country where Abkhaz citizens might be kept. It is unclear, though, why it hasn't been done before. There is a suspicion that some Abkhaz prisoners are still kept in Georgian jails since the war of the early 90s.


It is only last year that unknown people stopped calling the residents of the Galsky region at the Georgian border at their mobile phones making threats. Earlier, when the incoming call was undefined it meant a call either from State Security Ministry, or from Constitutional Security Department of the Georgian MIA.

The dull voices could give an advice on how to behave, where to work and with whom to stop communicating, or could just invite to the bank of the Ingur River for a sincere talk. Of course, they did not call everyone; only those who "cooperated with separatists" in this or that way.

However, "cooperation" implied a wide meaning and the suspicious calls from Georgia were mostly addressed to the teaching stuff of the Galsky schools. Naturally, the residents of the Galsky region never went to the river bank for a "sincere conversation", for there was a great probability of being sent to jail instead of coming back home.

At the same time, the practice of abducting and detaining Abkhaz citizens never brought any success to the Georgian special services - too much noise; besides, it negatively impacts Tbilisi's image. After two such cases, the detention of the head of administration of a Galsky village and the abduction of an administrative official of the Galsky region, it seemed the method ceased being used. However, the abduction of the citizen of Abkhazia Harry Jopua showed that Georgian special services again turned to their general occupation.

Head of administration of the village of Bargebi Fridon Chakaberia was abducted in 2006, and Chairman of the Galsky Electoral Committee David Sigua - in 2008. Unlike these two, Harry Jopua occupied no post and crossed the bridge on the border to meet his relative who brought him foodstuff. The witnesses saw him being put into the car and taken into the Georgian territory.

As was stated to GeorgiaTimes correspondent by Foreign Minister of Abkhazia Maxim Gvindzhia, the world combination "secret prisons" appeared not without a reason. "During negotiations in Geneva, Georgian representatives stated that they were unaware of the situation. So long as they represent the official Tbilisi and cannot find out anything about our citizen, we suppose there are secret prisons where our people are kept", - says the head of the Abkhaz Foreign Ministry.

The official Sukhum has stated the abduction of an Abkhaz citizen twice in the official documents and appealed for help to the European Union Special Representative in the South Caucasus Piter Semnebi. However, it brought no result. Gvindzhia fears that Jopua may share the fate of David Sigua who was stolen from his own house in Gal and whose fate remains unclear. Sigua's case was the key one at the many international meetings of the Abkhaz leaders, Sukhum making its participation in the Georgian-Abkhaz negotiating process dependant on his liberation. Many Tbilisian politicians promised to help, while the relatives of the abducted spent many days at the door of President Bagapsh's office pleading for help but in vain. Later on, Ambassador of the Abkhaz head to Galsky region Ruslan Kishmaria said that Sigua could be and was planned to be returned home under the pressure of international organizations and public opinion but he died from torturing. However, that's a non-official version.

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