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EU Concerned by Death of Georgian Citizen in Occupied Tskhinvali

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, February 27
(BRUSSELS) - The office of High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini has released a special statement over the death of a Georgian citizen Archil Tatunashvili in unclear circumstances in the occupied Tskhinvali region on February 23.

“The latest developments in South Ossetia, Georgia, in particular the tragic death of a Georgian citizen, Archil Tatunashvili, and detention of two others, are a source of grave concern,” the statement reads.

Mogherini press office wrote that the European Union is ready to support ongoing investigations and to facilitate discussions through the Incident Prevention and Support Mechanism meeting and the EUMM mission hotline.

“Following the release from custody of the two Georgian citizens detained, we expect the de facto authorities in Tskhinvali to urgently ensure that they are allowed to travel to Tbilisi administered territory,” the statement said.

First Deputy Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia Tamar Chugoshvili and Chairman of the Committee on European Integration Tamar Khulordava called on the international community to assess the death of Tatunashvili and the actions of the Russian occupation regime in the occupied regions of Georgia.

The parliamentary officials wrote that on February 22, the Russian occupation regime illegally detained three Georgian citizens - Levan Kutashvili, Levan Kutashvili and Ioseb Pavliashvili. On February 23, it was reported that Tatunashvili died in uncertain circumstances.

“Co-chairs of the EU Monitoring Mission and Geneva International Talks have been informed about this tragic incident, which is a direct responsibility of Russia as it exercises full control over the occupied region. We call on the observation mission and the international community to respond to this horrible case, to determine the circumstances of Tatunashvili's death,” Khulordava stated.

Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Mikheil Janelidze is visiting Geneva on February 25-27, where he will take part in the UN high-level human rights event.

"Speaking at the UN High-Level Human Rights Session, as well as at bilateral meetings with UN officials, the Foreign Minister will focus on democratic reforms and steps taken in the field of human rights in Georgia. Special attention will be paid to the tragic death of Archil Tatunashvili in the occupied region of Georgia.

“Georgia will appeal to the international community to respond to this terrible fact, which confirms the necessity for presence of international human rights and security mechanisms in the occupied regions”, Janelidze’s press office stated.

The local media of Tskhinvali reported that Tatunashvili was detained in Akhalgori, in the territory controlled by Russians, for his participation in the Russia-Georgia 2008 war. The media claimed that after being interrogated, Tatunashvili resisted guards and tried to escape, failed to keep balance on the staircase and fell down.

The so-called security service of Tskhinvali stated that they had carried out expertise on the body which revealed Tatunashvili, 35, died from heart failure.

Kutashvili and Pavliashvili have been released with no identification and transport documents. The two are unable to leave the occupied territory.