Body of Deceased Georgian Repatriated from Occupied Abkhazia

The body of deceased Georgian citizen Irakli Kvaratskhelia, who allegedly committed suicide in the Gali region of Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia, was repatriated from the occupied territory via the Enguri Bridge.

Representatives of the Georgian authorities and representatives of the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) were present at the site.

Kvaratskhelia’s body was transferred to Kutaisi Levan Samkharauli National Forensic Bureau for expertise assessment.

Ruslan Abashidze, Deputy State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality, said he cannot confirm rumors that the body has the signs of violence. He said an investigation is underway and the reason of death will be known after the forensic examination and investigation are concluded.

Expert Irakli Toidze stated the corpse has injuries to his neck.

“There are rope traces. There are no more injuries. Laboratory studies will be carried out to find whether these injuries were inflicted in life or after death,” the expert said.

Irakli Kvaratskhelia, 29, reportedly committed suicide after he was detained by the de-facto Abkhazian authorities. The information about was released on March 12 by the State Security Service of Georgia. The de facto Abkhazian regime named suicide as the reason for the Georgian citizen’s death.

The Public Defender of Georgia expressed deep sorrow over the death of Kvaratskhelia during his unlawful imprisonment and called on the Georgian authorities to use all international mechanisms to ensure effective investigation of the case and punishment of alleged perpetrators.

The Public Defender said the above-mentioned case once again demonstrates the need of the presence of an international and independent human rights monitoring mechanism in the occupied territories and urges the Georgian authorities and the international community to take more effective steps to ensure protection of human rights in the occupied territories.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Davit Zalkaliani told journalists that all the embassies of Georgia have received relevant instruction to inform all our partner countries about this case.

"We informed the international community. We had a conversation with the EU Special Representative, as well as the UN, OSCE, Geneva co-chairs. We are in constant communication with the EU monitoring mission. Every Embassy of Georgia has received relevant instruction to inform all our partner countries about the case and naturally all additional tools will be used to ensure that the international community is accurately informed about this outrageous fact. In addition, I will communicate with representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in Tbilisi,” he said.

“The tragedy that occurred in the occupied Gali region is the continuation of a grave and difficult situation which we will not reconcile with,” Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili said.

The de facto security service of the occupied region of Abkhazia released a statement regarding the death of Irakli Kvaratskhelia, saying he “illegally crossed the border and was detained.”

"On March 10, 2019, Russian FSB border guards detained Irakli Kvaratskhelia, who illegally crossed the state border of Abkhazia. He was transferred to the Border Division. He hanged himself while alone in the room. The medical staff was called, but Irakli Kvaratskhelia could not be saved," the statement reads.


By Thea Morrison



14 March 2019 09:16