Seventeen Georgian villagers, who were detained for what the authorities in breakaway South Ossetia said was “violation of border”, have been released.
Total of 26 Georgian villagers have been detained in several separate cases at the administrative boundary line with breakaway South Ossetia since May 2; most of them were residents of Sachkhere district, which is located on the western part of the breakaway region’s boundary line, and all of them were detained while collecting jonjoli, a plant used as a side dish in Georgia; some of them were released earlier this week.
Persons, who are detained for “violation of the South Ossetian border”, are usually released after court in Tskhinvali fines them with 2,000 rubles (about USD 57). But no fine was imposed in the release of 17 villagers, according to the Georgian Interior Ministry.
EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) welcomed release of 17 villagers and expressed hope that “maximum consideration will be shown towards jonjoli pickers and that such detentions will be avoided in the future.”
A new case of detention was reported on May 14. According to the Georgian interior Ministry a shepherd, who is a local resident of the Dusheti district, located on the eastern part of the breakaway South Ossetia’s administrative border, was detained.