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Georgian Citizen Charged with Spying in Abkhazia Sentenced to 10.5 years in Prison

The “Supreme Court” of occupied Abkhazia has sentenced Kristine Takalandze, a Georgian citizen from the village of Nabakevi in the ethnic Georgian majority district of Gali, who was arrested on charges of spying, to 10 years and 6 months in prison, Apsnypress news agency reported.  

Kristine Takalandze was arrested in occupied Abkhazia on July 20, 2022 and charged under Article 274 of the Abkhaz criminal code, which carries a prison sentence of 10 to 15 years.

The security service of Russian-occupied Abkhazia released a video showing her arrest and the search of her personal belongings, which revealed three Georgian IDs, a pharmacy card, a Liberty bank card, a SIM card, and a Georgian marriage certificate. They also found a letter from an individual asking an unidentified person to bring back medicine from Zugdidi, a western Georgian town near the region, and another partially burned letter.

The Security Service of Georgia (SSG) told Civil.ge at the time that it had immediately activated the hotline to inform the EU Monitoring Mission and the Co-Chairs of the Geneva International Discussion about the “illegal” detention.

It also noted that all available mechanisms would be used to secure Takalandze’s release as soon as possible. “Illegal detentions carried out by the occupation regime complicate the daily life of the local population and seriously damage the security environment,” the security service added.

SSSG’s statement on illegal sentencing of Takalandze

The State Security Service of Georgia issued a statement on the illegal sentence passed on Kristine Takalandze by the so-called court of occupied Abkhazia, which reads: “This illegal “decision” was preceded by the illegal arrest of Takalandze on fabricated and absurd charges, followed by many months of illegal detention”.

The statement emphasizes that the international community has repeatedly expressed a consolidated position and condemned the violent and illegal actions of the occupying regime against Kristine Takalandze, as well as the criminal practice of illegal detentions deliberately established in the occupied territories of Georgia.

The statement notes: “From the very first day of the illegal detention of Kristine Takalandze, the central government has been using all available mechanisms. This issue is also on the agenda of our international partners”.

The SSSG stresses that “the responsibility for all destructive actions carried out in the occupied regions of Georgia and along the occupation line lies with the occupying power”.

This news was updated at 12:09 on May 6, 2023 to include the SSSG statement.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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