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Russia-Controlled Tskhinvali Refuses to Hand Over Tatunashvili’s Organs

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, May 17
The Russia-controlled Tskhinvali region of Georgia has refused to hand over the internal body organs of the 35-year-old Georgian soldier Archil Tatunashvili, who was tortured and killed in Tskhinvali on February 23.

The government of Georgia representatives demanded the handover of Tatunashvili’s internal organs during the 86th Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meeting in Ergneti village on May 15, which lasted about 10 hours.

However, a representative of de facto Tskhinvali Murat Jioev stated after the meeting that "Tatunashvili was not tortured at all.”

The government of Georgia says that the body of Tatunashvili, who was transferred to Tbilisi-administered territory only after about a month after his death, was tortured and several internal organs were removed, which made it impossible to clarify the real reason of death.

Tskhinvali media announced the death of Tatunashvili on February 23, and stated that the latter had an incident with detention facility staff and fell down a flight of stairs.

However, the de facto security service of Tskhinvali claims that Tatunashvili died from heart failure.

Tskhinvali refused to hand over the body to his family and said that they needed time to conduct a "comprehensive autopsy."

Levan Kutashvili and Ioseb Pavliashvili, who were detained with Tatunashvili, were only able to leave the occupied region on March 11 because their documents had been confiscated.

The United States, NATO, the European Union, a number of other countries and almost all international organisations had urged Russia and the de-facto leadership to hand over Tatunashvili’s body to his family and allow Kutashvili and Papunashvili to return freely across the occupation line.

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili urged the leadership of the Russian Federation to take joint steps and resolve this "complicated situation”.

Expressing their sadness over Tatunashvili’s death, the Russian Federation said this issue was far out of the framework of the Russian-Georgian agenda.

On March 19 Parliamentary majority and minority agreed on joint resolution over Archil Tatunashvili’s death and later adopted the resolution condemning the Russian actions in Georgia.

IPRM was created in February 2009 as a result of the Geneva Discussions that followed the 2008 Russia-Georgia war.

The meetings are co-facilitated by the OSCE and the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM).

The Central Government of Georgia is presented at the meetings with the representatives of the State Minister of Georgia for Reconciliation and Civic Equality and the State Security Service.

The next IPRM meeting will take place in Ergneti on June 7, 2018.