Tatunashvili's Family Demands Results of Autopsy

The family of Georgian citizen Archil Tatunashvili, who died in custody in a detention facility in Georgia’s occupied Tskhinvali region (South Ossetia) on February 23, is demanding to see the autopsy results.

The puppet regime at first refused to hand Tatunashvili’s body over to Georgia-proper authorities following his death in custody in unclear circumstances. However, late on March 20, his body was transferred to the Georgia-proper side of the boundary line and on March 24, he was buried with military honor at Mukhatgverdi military cemetery on the outskirts of Tbilisi.

Official Tbilisi has not yet stated officially that Tatunashvili was killed. However, the President of Georgia and the majority of opposition MPs and human right activists have openly accused de facto Tskhinvali of murdering Tatunashvili, as the 35-year old had multiple injuries and bruises on his body, including an amputated index finger on his right hand.

Tamar Avaliani, lawyer of the deceased man’s family, says that three weeks have passed since the autopsy was carried out, adding they are waiting for the “adequate” result.

“The forensic medical expertise results should have been out within two weeks. Three weeks have passed and we have yet to receive a response. According to preliminary data and visual examination, Tatunashvili had multiple injuries which indicate that he was tortured,” the lawyer stressed.

Avaliani also underlined that the entire case is based on the autopsy result, adding the family expects the investigation “will be fair, comprehensive and effective.”

“The family of Tatunashvili has no information regarding the investigation. They are demanding and waiting for the identification and punishment of the perpetrators,” she added.

According to the lawyer, if the investigation of the case proves ineffective in Georgia, the family will address the European Human Rights Court (ECHR) in Strasburg.

The Levan Samkharauli National Forensics Bureau says they have no results yet, adding the examination is still underway.

“The expertise has reasonable terms and it will continue until the completion of the study," stated Eka Chumburidze, Head of Public Relations Department of the National Forensics Bureau.

Psycho-Rehabilitation Center Empathy, which was involved in the examination of Archil Tutunashvili's body, said that they have not received material to prepare a conclusion.

Mariam Jishkariani, Director of the Center and an international expert, stated they are waiting for the results of National Forensics Bureau.

On March 20-21, the Forensic Medical Expertise Department of the Samkharauli National Forensics Bureau conducted a medical examination of Tatunashvili’s body. The experts of the Bureau believe it necessary to conduct an examination according to international standards.

Georgia’s Minister of Reconciliation and Civic Equality, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, does not exclude that international experts will be involved in the process.

“The need for the involvement of foreign experts in Tatunashvili's case will be known after the final results of the examination…Our task is to determine all circumstances in which the young man's life was ended. Naturally, this process will have continuation, both political and legal,” said Tsikhelashvili.

De facto Tskhivali rejects all allegations, adding Tatunashvili was “suspected of sabotage and murder of civilians” during the Georgia-Russia August war in 2008.

They say their "law enforcers" used physical force against Tatunashvili when he attempted to escape, adding he fell down the stairs and died two hours later in hospital.

By Thea Morrison

12 April 2018 20:15