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Captain of BUKET sentenced to 24 years in prison2009-09-01 11:13
On Monday the Georgian court sentenced Mehmed Dzhoshkun Ozturk, the citizen of Turkey, the captain of BUKET vessel, to 24 years of imprisonment, RIA Novosti reports citing to the MIA of Georgia press service.gt-en-newsitem-inside
The captain was convicted of violation of customs rules on especially large scale and violation of rules of entering the "occupied territory". BUKET was flying Panama flag and carrying 2 000 tons of petrol and 700 tons of diesel fuel from Turkey to Abkhazia.The fate of 16 crew members, four Azerbaijani citizens and 12 Turks, is not yet known. According to the latest messages, they have not been charged and could be relieved from liability.
The ship will be passed to the Ministry of Finance which will be able to sell it at a auction.
Georgia regards Abkhazia as its territory, and delivery of goods to Abkhazia without Tbilisi's permission is considered a crime. One week ago the captain of AFRO STAR, flying flags of Cambodia, was sentenced to 2 months of pretrial incarceration. The ship was detained in Abkhazian basin "for violation of rules of entering the occupied territory".
According to border police, 6 members of crew [all-citizens of Syria] were obliged to pay GEL 4 000 [appr USD 2 400] to be bailed for the period of investigation. The MIA stated the vessel was smuggling 1 255 of tons of ferocious metals.
In 2009 23 ships have been detained by coastal guards, 4 out of them - "for violation of rules of entering the occupied territory".
BUKET was detained on August 17th, the trial must have been held on August 21st, but wa adjourned for 10 days. The detention of the ship with fuel provoked lines in petrol stations of Abkhzia.