Five Georgian citizens, detained for “illegally crossing the state border,” were released from Tskhinvali jail, after having paid the fine of 2000 Russian Roubles (62 Georgian Lari) on August 30.
The youths – Gia Bagdoshvili, Mzia Gomuri, Vakhtang Gubeladze, Beka Magradze and Ketevan Magradze – were delivered from Tskhinvali to the Tbilisi-controlled territory at 4 pm between the Georgian and South Ossetian checkpoints in the Ergneti village on the boundary line, and taken to the Mtskheta regional police station for questioning.
Vakhtang Gubeladze, one of the released, said after the questioning that they were “not kidnapped,” but rather crossed the occupation line themselves, and appeared on the Russia-controlled territory.
“We were detained by the Russian servicemen, we were then taken to the Russian [military] base, and transferred to Tskhinvali where we spent three nights in jail,” Gubeladze said.
Gia Bagdoshvili added that they had been on a three-day hike to see the Kelitsadi lake, when they lost their way and were detained [by the Russian servicemen].
The “security service” of the Moscow-backed Tskhinvali region announced about detention of five Georgian citizens on August 28, for “illegally crossing the state border.” However, the location of detention and its implication had stirred confusion.
The Moscow-backed Tskhinvali authorities had identified Keli Lake inside the boundary line – which is being patrolled by Russian occupation forces stationed in Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia – as the location of detention.
However, the relatives of some of the detainees urged the youth had been travelling to the Truso gorge – which is outside the occupation line, within Tbilisi-controlled territory.
Shalva Kereselidze, new Governor of Mtskheta-Mtianeti, a mountainous region north of Tbilisi, confirmed to reporters yesterday that the young people were detained on the territory of Java district, which is inside the occupation line.