Officials in Sokhumi claim Irakli Kvaratskhelia, a 29-year-old Georgian citizen, who died under unclear circumstances in Abkhazia, committed suicide while in custody of Russian troops deployed in the region.
In a statement on March 13, a day after Kvaratskhelia’s death was reported, the Abkhaz security agency said the man was detained by Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) “border guards” on March 10 for “illegally crossing” into Abkhazia.
According to Abkhaz officials, Kvaratskhelia was transferred to a nearby FSB facility (reportedly, in the village Nabakevi of Gali district), where he hanged himself.
“He took his own life while alone in the room. Although medical aid was rendered, Kvaratskhelia’s life could not be saved,” the statement reads .
The Abkhaz security agency also noted that Kvaratskhelia’s body was examined by local forensic experts, which “confirmed that the death was not caused by physical violence.”
“The relevant bodies of the Russian Federation are investigating the circumstances of the incident,” it also said, adding the “matter of handing Kvaratskhelia’s body to the Georgian authorities” is being currently discussed.
Kvaratskhelia’s death was communicated to Tbilisi on March 12 through an incident prevention and reporting hotline, with Abkhaz officials saying he committed suicide. There were several reports from Kvaratskhelia’s acquaintances and local residents, that his death could have resulted from beatings after an altercation with the Russian troops.