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Family denies Abkhazia war veteran killed

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, January 31
The family of Georgian Giorgi Lukava, arrested in Georgia’s western de facto Abkhazia region five years ago and who fought for Georgia in the course of the Abkhaz wars in the 1990s, is believed dead, as all contact with him were lost.

However, Lukava’s wife Lali Basaria says her husband contacted her from one of the harshest prisons in Abkhazia several days ago, where he was serving his life sentence, and told her that he was allegedly being transferred to another prison.

Basaria also claimed her husband said the Abkhazians told him that his release was planned from the Dranda prison, and he would be sent to Georgia’s western Samegrelo region.

“A bit later he phoned me, and told me he had no idea where he could be sent, and asked me to inform the international community about the situation,” Basaria says.

She announced that currently she had no information about her husband’s whereabouts, and asked for help from the Government of Georgia and the international community.

In her previous comments, Basaria accused the Georgian Dream Government of not attempting to achieve the release of her husband, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in Abkhazia for membership in a partisan group and murder.

Basaria claims the charges were invented.

Georgia’s Minister of Reconciliation Ketevan Tsikhelashviliand the State Security Service said the de-facto Abkhazia prison administration did not confirm Lukava’s transfer.

They said they were actively working on the issue, and the European Union Monitoring Mission was also involved in clarifying the matter.

In her previous comments, Lukava’s wife claimed it was the current Government’s fault her husband was unable to return to his home and eight children.

She stated that Abkhazia was ready to transfer the man, but the Georgian leadership refused their offer.

Then Minister for Reconciliation Paata Zakareishvili dismissed the accusations, stressing they were “myths”.

Zakareishvili stated that thanks to the negotiations between Georgia and Abkhazia,nine Georgians have been released from Abkhazia’s prisons since 2015.

The ex-Minister stated that the de-facto leadership has consistently refused Lukava’s transfer and the reason, according to Abkhazia, was that Lukava was once released and then committed another crime in the de-facto independent territory.