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De facto Tskhinvali releases illegally-detained activist

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, August 18
Civil activist Tamar Mearakishvili, who has been active on social networks and is known for her criticism towards the de-facto authorities of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, has been released by Tskhinvali Prosecutor’s Office, several hours after she was detained in occupied Akhalgori late on Wednesday.

Prior to her detention, Mearakishvili spoke to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s reporter via phone conversation, saying she was stopped by the investigator of de-facto South Ossetia Alan Baiazrov who, without any explanation or notice, took the woman to the regional prosecutor’s office.

According to the activist’s family members, she was notified only at the de facto prosecutor's office that she was accused of spreading defamatory information about Spartak Dreyev, a member of de facto president Bibilov's party.

They also claim that South Ossetian law enforcers searched their house and talked to them rudely, when Mearakishvili was still in detention.

Mearakishvili is now at home but her family says the de facto prosecutor’s office has not finished her interrogation and she is summoned for questioning on Friday.

Ucha Nanuashvili, Georgia’s Public Defender (Ombudsman) released a statement shortly after the activist’s detention.

The Public Defender assessed the detention of Tamar Mearakishvili as the illegal deprivation of liberty, unlawful pressure on the civil activist and restriction of her freedom of expression.

“This detention should also be assessed as a compulsion to leave Akhalgori permanently. It is worrying that pressure on civil activists and non-governmental organizations has acquired a regular character in the so-called South Ossetian region,” Nanuashvili stressed.

The Public Defender called on the de facto authorities to immediately release Mearakishvili.

He also called on the Government of Georgia to take all measures for the protection of the safety of Tamar Mearakishvili.

The statement also reads that Mearakishvili had been under pressure from the de facto authorities in recent years, which resulted in her abduction in July 2017.