The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia announced on 12 October that the Gali-Gulripshi and Ochamchire-Tkvarcheli District Court has found three members of the ‘Gagra Group’ from the Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili list guilty in absentia of group robbery, attempted murder of two or more people, hostage-taking, and illegal deprivation of liberty, as well as the purchase, storage, carrying, and transportation of firearms.
The Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili list was compiled by the Georgian government and includes 33 persons, mostly Abkhaz and South Ossetian militants, convicted or charged with grave crimes committed against ethnic Georgians in the occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia since the early 1990s. It is named after Giga Otkhozoria, who was killed in the Khurcha incident near Abkhazia in May 2016, and Archil Tatunashvili, who died while in detention by the Russian-backed authorities in Tskhinvali in February 2018.
After finding all three of the individuals guilty, the Court sentenced them to 12 years of imprisonment each before they were ultimately given 9 years apiece in accordance with Georgia’s Law on Amnesty. A search has also been announced for the defendants.
The Prosecutor’s Office noted that evidence submitted to the Court proved that the defendants attempted to kill citizens using firearms in Abkhazia and Zugdidi Municipality between 1999 and 2004. According to the Prosecutor, they also robbed citizens of their personal belongings and valuables.
In addition, members of the Gagra Group were involved in the illegal deprivation of liberty and hostage-taking in Gali municipality, the predominantly ethnic Georgian area of occupied Abkhazia, with the aim of demanding ransom payments.