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Internal Organs Missing from Tatunashvili’s Body, Lawyer Says

Tamar Avaliani, the lawyer of the family of Archil Tatunashvili, a thirty-five-year-old Georgian citizen, who died at the hands of the Russian-backed authorities in Tskhinvali on February 22, said the man was transferred to the Georgian authorities without his internal organs.

Tamar Avaliani, who represents the family on behalf of the Tbilisi-based rights watchdog Human Rights Center, spoke to reporters yesterday, following the interrogation of Giorgi Tatunashvili, the father of the victim, at the Prosecutor’s Office in the eastern Georgian town of Mtskheta.

Avaliani confirmed that the prosecutors also updated them on the progress of the ongoing investigation. She noted the investigation was underway under articles 143 and 108 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, involving unlawful imprisonment and murder, respectively. 

Avaliani also noted that she raised “two major issues” before the prosecutors, that the authorities “should use all available mechanisms” for transferring the internal organs of Archil Tatunashvili, and that all case-related medical and legal files should be requested from Tskhinvali.

“Certain assumptions have been voiced that [the missing organs] may hinder the proper conduct of the forensic examination, but these are not final assumptions,” the lawyer stressed.

The Human Rights Center issued a statement on the matter on April 13, saying the organization was preparing a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of the family, and urging the Georgian authorities to file an interstate claim against the Russian Federation.

Mariam Jishkariani, who leads the Tbilisi-based Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture – Empathy, the representative of which was present at the forensic examination on March 21, said yesterday that the organization would draft “an independent conclusion” of the examination. 

Respective materials have already been requested from the National Forensics Bureau in Tbilisi, according to Mariam Jishkariani. In a statement on April 13, the organization said it would issue such conclusion in one week’s time.

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