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PM Claims Tatunashvili’s Body Will be Transferred Soon

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, March 6
(TBILISI) - The Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has announced in a special statement that “based on the information received in the last few days and hours, it is reasonable to state that our efforts will bear fruit and we will be able to lay our compatriot to rest in the nearest future.”

The PM referred to the transfer of Archil Tatunashvili’s body, a 35-year-old Georgian soldier who died in unclear circumstances in the occupied Tskhinvali region on February 23.

“A few days ago, we faced yet another tragedy-we are unable to duly mourn Archil Tatunashvili together with his family. Levan Kutashvili and Ioseb Pavliashvili, who were detained along with him, remain unable to return to their families,” Kvirikashvili stated.

The PM said that Georgians are rightfully appalled by this tragic event.

“The Government of Georgia is sparing no effort to have the body handed to the family as soon as possible. All our friends, the international community, are standing by our side in this process, and the role of the Patriarch and our Church is immensely important,” The PM stated.

The Patriarch of Russia has already got involved in the transfer of Tatunashvili's body, the Georgian Patriarchate has announced.

"The Russian Patriarchate contacted and informed us that they received the letter of Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II and sent it to the Russian Patriarch who is on an official visit to Bulgaria.

“His holiness Kirill said that at the request of His Holiness Ilia II, he got involved in the transfer of Archil's body to the family and will try to achieve it in the shortest possible time,” the Patriarchate of Georgia stated.

The Public Defender of Georgia Nino Lomjaria has met with the family of Archil Tatunashvili in the village of Tsilkani, in east Georgia.

"We sent information to all international organizations and we try to accelerate the transfer of the body. This is the primary goal of the family and the state at this stage. It is difficult to specify exactly how long this process will last. Getting information from the occupied region is complicated,” Lomjaria said.

The most important thing is Tatunashvili's body to be immediately handed over to the family, - said UN Resident Coordinator in Georgia Neil Scott.

"The United Nations is very concerned about Tatunashvili's case and we demand a transparent investigation that will provide information to all parties concerned, but of course, first of all, it is crucial that the body is immediately handed over to the family and the other two people to be released," said Neil Scott.

Tatunashvili and two other Georgian citizens were detained by occupation forces on February 22 in Akhalgori area, on territory currently controlled by Russians, allegedly for Tatunashvili’s 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.

However, the de facto security service of Tskhinvali claims he died from heart failure. Tskhinvali refuses to hand over the body until Russian experts provide the outcomes of autopsy.

Two others detained with Tatunashvili have been released from detention but they cannot leave the occupied territory due to the fact that their identification documents have been confiscated.