A 37-year-old citizen of Georgia Maia Otinashvili, who was detained for “illegally crossing the state border,” near Khurvaleti, a village in Gori Municipality adjacent to Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, was sentenced to two months in pretrial custody.
According to the “security service” of the Moscow-backed Tskhinvali authorities, Maia Otinashvili, mother of three minors, was detained in the vicinity of village Tsinagari. Tsinagari borders with Khurvaleti and lies in Akhalgori Municipality, inside the Russian-held territory.
“For a long period of time, Otinashvili was assisting the citizens of South Ossetia and Georgia in illegally crossing the state border in exchange for money,” the “security service” said.
The family of Maia Otinashvili denies this and says the woman was working in her land plot in the Tbilisi-controlled territory, when Russians crossed in and arrested her.
The detainee’s mother, Galina Kelekhsaeva, commented on the charges as well, saying Otinashvili’s land plot lies close to the occupation line and is frequently used by residents of Tskhinvali Region for crossing into Georgia proper for state pensions and other services.
“When a pensioner crosses for getting his/her pension, how can my daughter go against it? That she was accepting money in exchange is fabricated. If they cannot control the border, how can my daughter do it?,” says Kelekhsaeva.
Georgian Reconciliation Minister Ketevan Tsikhelashvili visited the family of Maia Otinashvili yesterday, condemning the “kidnapping” as “an alarming and a shameful fact.” “We are using all channels to ensure her [timely] release,” the minister noted.
The State Security Service, Georgia’s domestic intelligence service, commented on the matter as well, saying it would spare no efforts to release Otinashvili. It also said the woman was detained near village Khurvaleti in the Tbilisi-controlled territory on September 29.