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Red card to referee Beuklishvili2009-02-10 16:11
The kidnapping of a Georgian soccer referee on South Ossetian border was a vital issue to many according to the media. The explanations are different: from "a Georgian trace" to the schemes of Russian special services...
On the morning of February 7 Malkhaz Beuklishvili, a 36-year-old soccer referee was kidnapped on the Tbilisi-Gori road at the crossing near Orchosani village. His colleagues accompanying him to a calendar match in Zugdidi were released by the criminals while Malkhaz was taken in the direction of South Ossetia. Generally speaking he was given a "red card" without a chance to get to the field.
The relatives were requested a ransom in the amount of 50 thousand dollars according to Interfax. The next day, on Sunday, South Ossetian and Georgian law-enforcement authorities announced the successful release of the hostage.
Before that Georgia's Interior Ministry twice remarked in its statement on February 7 that the kidnappers had come from the "territory controlled by the Russian occupants" taking Beuklishili there. After he was released the Ministry also came forward with an official statement emphasizing that the success of the special operation had been due to "intervention of the Georgian law-enforcement authorities and international organizations".
At the same time South Ossetia's Interior Minister Vitaly Gassiev in his interview with Res IA reported: "The Georgian citizen... is free, and the four persons suspected of the kidnapping are detained as a result of the special operation carried out by the South Ossetian law-enforcement authorities". According to the Minister "the kidnapping was a pure crime".
The victim gave testimony in Tskhinval police department and together with "Red Cross" representatives went home. If the words of South Ossetia's head policeman can be trusted, the four kidnappers are under arrest and neither he nor the Georgian Interior Ministry reveals any information about them for now.
Malkhaz Beuklishvili in his interview with Res IA gave a detailed account of the incident saying about the kidnappers wearing military uniform. Here is his story word for word:
"We were stopped by a car. There were five people inside it wearing uniforms. We were moved from our car to the other. Then we were brought to a village and kept in a house, - the referee says. - There was no physical pressure, just a nasty conversation. I explained I had nothing to do with anyone, produced my documents but they just ignored it ordering to shut up.