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12 Georgian soldiers exchanged for convicted criminal

Friday, August 29
Twelve Georgian prisoners arrested ten days ago in Poti were released yesterday after being exchanged for former military commander Roman Dumbadze.

A former commander of the Batumi-based 25th brigade of the Georgian armed forces, Roman Dumbadze was arrested in 2004 during the Adjara revolution after defying the Georgian authorities and declared his opposition to Tbilisi, announcing that his soldiers "answer only to Aslan Abashidze, our supreme commander." He was considered to be a close friend of Abashidze and has spent about four years in a Batumi jail accused of high treason.

Givi Targamadze, the MP in charge of thgis operation, said that General Alexander Borisov had proposed that Dumbadze be handed over to the Russian side and added that Borisov personally knew him well.

“General Borisov demanded that we give Russia a person who was serving a life sentence for high treason. He is Roman Dumbadze, who blew up bridges in Adjara during that time [Adjara revolution]. If anyone had any questions concerning this, everything is clear now,” Targamadze said, and added that as Borisov mentioned, Dumbadze will live in his country-cottage in PodMoscowie. “We gave Dumbadze to them because our prisoners and soldiers are more important than this criminal Dumbadze,” Targamadze said.

The Russian side rejected Targamadze’s demand that he attend the exchange itself, held near the village of Rukhi, Samegrelo. The released soldiers returned on the same day to Batumi where they are stationed, and according to a preliminary examination all feel well.

Russian occupiers arrested twenty-two Georgian soldiers in Poti 10 days ago and took them to Senaki military base. Later on August 22, the first ten of them were released.