Georgia’s State Security Service has said authorities in Russian-occupied Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia sentenced Georgian citizen Mamuka Chkhikvadze to five years and six months in prison.
Chkhikvadze is reportedly a former military officer, arrested in December by the occupation forces near Zemo Nikozi village, a Tbilisi-controlled settlement right to the south of occupied Tskhinvali town.
“The illegal decision was preceded by the unlawful arrest of Mamuka Chkhikvadze by the Russian occupation forces and the fabrication of charges against him,” the Security Service noted in the statement, released on May 12.
It asserted that Chkhikvadze’s ruling demonstrated once again “the inhuman and criminal nature of the occupation, for which the Russian Federation has full responsibility as a force exercising control over the occupied territories.”
It was not immediately clear from the statement which charges were brought against Chhikvadze in Tskhinvali. But media reported earlier that he faced accusations over the crossing of “the state border,” that is the occupation line, as well as drug trafficking.
The Security Service also stated that from the very first days of the arrest the “hot line” managed by the European Union Monitoring Mission has been regularly activated and that Chkhikvadze’s unconditional release is demanded at the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meetings in Ergneti.
During the recent IPRM meeting in April the co-facilitators from the EUMM and the OSCE have voiced their concern about the high number of active detention cases in Tskhinvali and urged for a humanitarian approach towards their resolution.
Earlier in mid-December, Georgian media cited Chkhikvadze’s friends as reporting that the man was subject to beatings and inhuman treatment in Tskhinvali’s notorious prison.