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Family protests detentions of two men for crossing into Abkhazia

13 April 2017

Family members of father and son Archil Rogava, 59, and Paata Rogava, 25, gathered at the de facto border with Abkhazia on 13 April for the second time, after the pair were arrested on 6 April for allegedly crossing into Abkhazia. The family members are gathered at the Enguri (Ingur) Bridge, according to Intepressnews.

Family members of Archil and Paata Rogava (Interpressnews)

Relatives say that the men were detained on 6 April while they were looking for a lost horse, but that they did not cross the border. The relatives claim that border guards forced them to cross at gunpoint.

Tinatin Chachua, Archil Rogava’s wife, says that the family hasn’t received any information about their conditions, or anything else; they just know that the father and son have been arrested.

‘I want to visit them, wherever they are. If they will allow me to, it is okay, we will be thankful, but if not, we will sneak in’, Chachua remarked.

Archil Rogava’s daughter, Tinatin Rogava, told journalists that they learned about the arrest when they tried to call them. Some stranger answered the phone and told them that the two had been arrested.

On 11 April another stranger called the family to provide more information about father and son, but they do not trust this information.

‘They called on the request of some lawyer and told us that the two are in Sukhumi, feeling well. The lawyer has said that he would get familiar with the details of the case and contact the family directly only after that’, she added.

Georgia’s State Security Service has said that they are doing their best to secure their release, and that the EU Monitoring Mission is aware of the case.

The 2016 annual report from the State Security Service reads that the arrests of people at the border with Abkhazia is one of the major challenges for the services. According to the report, 193 people were arrested in 2016 at the Abkhazian border.