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Occupants Removed Organs from Archil Tatunashvili’s Body

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, April 18
The family and a lawyer of a Georgian soldier Archil Tatunashvili say that the 35-year-old man, who was killed by Russia-controlled border guards on February 23, had his organs removed when his body was returned to the Tbilisi-administered territory after about a month from death.

Lawyer Tamar Avaliani, who arrived at the Mtskheta Regional Prosecutor's Office with Archil Tatunashvili’s father Givi Tatunashvili on Monday, confirmed the information and stated that the Tatunashvili family has addressed the government of Georgia to ensure the transfer of the organs from the occupied Tskhinvali region with the help of the international community.

“Otherwise it will be difficult to clarify the causes of his death,” Avaliani stated.

Tatunashvili’s detention and death has stirred international outcry, with foreign countries and international organizations demanding from Russia to return the body, which was managed only after 26 days from death..

The body was taken out of occupied Tskhinvali by the International Committee of the Red Cross and was transported to Tbilisi immediately for an autopsy late on March 20.

Tskhinvali claims that the reason of the death was heart failure, while Georgian officials, Tatunashvili’s friends and family members stated that the body was “severely tortured.”

Tatunashvili and two other Georgian citizens were detained in the occupied Akhalgori area by Russia-controlled border guards on February 22, allegedly for participation in the Russia-Georgia 2008 war.

Tskhinvali media announced the death of Tatunashvili on February 23, and stated that the latter had an incident with detention facility staff and fell down a flight of stairs.

Tskhinvali refused to hand over the body to his family and said that they needed time to conduct a "comprehensive autopsy."

Levan Kutashvili and Ioseb Pavliashvili, who were detained with Tatunashvili, were only able to leave the occupied region on March 11 because their documents had been confiscated.

The United States, NATO, the European Union, a number of other countries and almost all international organisations had urged Russia and the de-facto leadership to hand over Tatunashvili’s body to his family and allow Kutashvili and Papunashvili return freely across the occupation line.

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili urged the leadership of the Russian Federation to take joint steps and resolve this "complicated situation”.

However, Russia responded that this issue was far out of the framework of the Russia-Georgia agenda.

On March 19, Parliamentary majority and minority elaborated a joint resolution over Archil Tatunashvili’s death, condemning Russia’s actions in Georgia’s occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, which were recognized as independent republics by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru in the wake of the Russia-Georgia 2008 war.