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The News in Brief

Tuesday, January 9
Abkhazia demands extradition of a murderer of the Russian diplomat

Authorities in breakaway Abkhazia demand the extradition of a Georgian prisoner suspected of assassinating a Russian diplomat and his wife in Abkhazia in 2013.

Sokhumi wants the suspected murderer’s handed over as a reciprocatory move for the release of Giorgi Lukava that happened two weeks ago. A 53 year old Lukava is former militiaman who has been incarcerated in Dranda prison for the last seven years.

Lukava was serving a 20 year sentence for an alleged membership of a Georgian paramilitary group called the Forest Brothers in the 1990s and early 2000s. He was convicted of ‘grave crimes’ against ‘Abkhaz citizens’.

Now Sokhumi demands the release of Yusup Lakayev, an ethnic Chechen whom the breakaway republic has accused of murdering Dmitri Vishernev and his wife. Vishernev was the First Secretary at the de facto Russian embassy to Abkhazia in Sukhumi. His car was riddled with bullets near his home on September, 2013. The Russian diplomat was killed on the spot, while his wife succumbed to her wounds at the hospital.

Lakayev was arrested in Batumi a few days later after a shooting incident where three persons were wounded. He was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment.

Sokhumi claims that Lukava’s release was a part of an informal prisoner exchange process between Georgia and breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Earlier, on November 26, another Georgian ex- soldier, Giorgi Giunashvili, was released from a prison in South Ossetia.

Abkhazia’s demand for the excuse of Lakayev follows a strong reaction to the release of Lukava which the opposition groups see as a betrayal. The Georgian government dismisses any agreement on prisoner exchange process.

Abkhazian media reports that Georgia extradited Roland Zhiba, an ethnic of Abkhazia who is suspected of a murder committed in Abkhazia, as a response to the Giunashvili’s release. Official Tbilisi has not yet commented on the issue.
(DF watch)

Georgia’s Football Federation receives special UEFA award for best progress

Georgia’s Football Federation wins one of the top three awards of UEFA and receives an award for the Most Progressive Country, Georgia’s Football Federation has announced.

The UEFA is the administrative body for football in Europe; it chose three winners from its 55 members for its Respect Fair Play ranking.

The award appeared Georgia to have shown the best progress in the Fair Play rating of UEFA in 2016/2017 compared to other members of the organization. Two other nominations included an award for the best UEFA Fair Play country and that for a country with the best football fans.

The Island remains as a leader of the Fair Play ranking, while Finland is awarded for its most distinguished fans.