The State Security Service of Georgia (SSG) announced on 17 August, that Levan Machabeli, who was illegally detained by “Russian occupation forces” near occupied Zemo Artsevi village on March 26, 2022, was released and is in Tbilisi-controlled territory.
At the time of his detainment, the Russian-controlled KGB of Tskhinvali/South Ossetia had reported that Machabeli had violated “the state border,” and also cited Machabeli’s history of serving in the Georgian Armed Forces from 2005-2009 and participation in the Russo-Georgian War over South Ossetia in August 2008.
“I was treated normally [and] they did not pressure me,” Machabeli stated after his release. “I was released thanks to our government and thanks to our international organizations.”
According to the SSG, both the hotline mechanism and other tools at the Georgian government’s disposal were “actively used” in the process of securing Machabeli’s release.
In addition, Tbilisi regularly discussed his release from illegal detention in the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) format, and information was regularly provided to the co-chairs of the Geneva International Discussions (GID) and other international partners.
“The central government continues to actively work for the release of other illegally detained Georgian citizens, both in the direction of occupied Tskhinvali and occupied Abkhazia,” the SSG denoted and added that the occupying power “bears full responsibility for the destructive actions” carried out in the occupied regions and along the occupation line.
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