The remains of Irakli Kvaratskhelia, a 29-year-old Georgian citizen, who died under unclear circumstances in Abkhazia, have been transferred to the Tbilisi-administered territory. The body was handed over to the Georgian authorities from Enguri Bridge, which connects Abkhazia with the rest of the country.
Kvaratskhelia’s death was communicated to Tbilisi on March 12 through an incident prevention and reporting hotline, with Abkhaz officials saying he committed suicide.
The Georgian authorities, media and public remain highly skeptical of this version of events. A suspicion is largely driven by past incidents involving the death of Archil Tatunashvili in Tskhinvali custody as well as Giga Otkhozoria at the boundary line near Abkhazia. In both cases, suspects were not brought to justice.
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. Some Georgian media have speculated today that death could have occurred from a heart failure following the use of an electric stun-gun (a Tazer-like device).
The Georgian Minister for Reconciliation Ketevan Tsikhelashvili expressed hope, that more clarity regarding the circumstances of this tragic death would emerge following the forensic analysis at the Georgian national bureau for forensics.