Detained Under Occupation
17 April, 2014
Detained Under Occupation
The Georgian journalists arrested inside the Georgia’s occupied territories which caused an international outcry have been released. TV 3 reporter Bela Zakaidze, cameraman Vakho Lekiashvili and technical assistant Michael Mikhoev were arrested by so-called Russian border guards in the Adzvi village while they were covering the fact of relocation of the boundary. They were later taken to Tskhinvali.
At the time Head of the EUMM Press and Public Relations Department, Nino Sukhitashvili said that EUMM opened hotline to help the
parties to communicate with each other, while the negotiations were underway to release the detained Georgian journalists as soon as possible. According to her, the analytical Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs was also involved in the process of negotiations.
Later the EUMM has contacted the Ossetian side via the hotline to persuade them to free the reporters. “The detention of journalists is a very regrettable fact, which once more confirms that we live under occupation,” opined Deputy Minister Ketevan Tsikhelashvili.
Georgia’s Public Defender too voiced concerns over the detention of the journalists and called all the parties that they must make an all-out effort to free those imprisoned.
Ucha Nanuashvili issued a statement in which he defines the practice of imprisoning ordinary people in the vicinity of the administrative border of Abkhazian and so called South Ossetia as a deplorable fact.
“Despite the ongoing negotiations between the parties and our attempts to reach an agreement with them, the representatives of the de-facto government as well as the Russian servicemen have remained steadfast to the corrupt practice of harsh violation of the people’s rights as well as the principles of the International law. According to international law, the responsibility of stripping journalists of their freedom must be exerted on the Federation of Russia,” stated the Public Defender.
Ucha Nanuashvili called upon Georgia’s Government as well as the international organizations to adopt all possible measures to guarantee the safety of the detained journalists and release them as soon as possible.
Along with his family members, an InterPressNews correspondent also contacted Bela Zakaidze, one of the detained journalists. “Please calm my mother down; they promise to set us free soon,” the journalist said at the time.
The Prime Minister’s special representative for the relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze discussed the issue with Grigory Karasin, Minister of Foreign Affairs Maia Panjikidze said.
“Zurab Abashidze has not arrived in Prague. Upon his arrival, we’ll talk to him and inform him about this and he will start the meeting with Mr. Karasin with this issue with,” Panjikidze said.
The minister advised citizens of Georgia that in the future they should inform foreign and internal departments before going to the occupation line.
“We first of all informed EUMM, which has a better mechanism to find out what is happening. There is hotline in Ministry of Internal Affairs too,” Maia Panjikidze explained. “What happened is regrettable.”

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