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Interior Minister Says Tatunashvili was Killed

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, March 26
(TBILISI) - The Georgian Interior Minister has stated based on preliminary reports that the Georgian soldier Archil Tatunashvili, who died in unclear circumstances in Georgia’s occupied Tskhinvali region on February 23, was killed.

The minister stated that the outcomes of the autopsy conducted in Tbilisi 26 days after the death of the 35-year-old man will be known soon.

“We are waiting for the autopsy results, after which, the investigation will enter an active phase. This will take some time,” said Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia said.

The Georgian Chief Prosecution also mentioned the word “murder”, attending the funeral of Tatunashvili on Saturday.

He claimed that the family will be continually informed about the progress of investigation.

"This is a huge tragedy of our country and the greatest pain for every citizen,” Shotadze said.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili posthumously awarded Tatunashvili with the Order of Honor.

He announced about the decision at the Mukhatgverdi Brothers Cemetery in the outskirts of Tbilisi, where Tatunashvili was buried.

"We award the Order of Honor to Archil Tatunashvili for his decent life and martyr's death," the president said.

"Today we have buried a worthy patriot. Today we have seen the real face of the occupant, which is a kidnapper and torturer,” Margvelashvili stated.

On 22 February, Russia-controlled so-called border guards illegally detained three Georgian citizens - Archil Tatunashvili, Levan Kutashvili and Ioseb Pavliashvili, in Akhalgori area, currently under Russia’s control.

On February 23, it was reported that Tatunashvili died in unclear circumstances. The de facto authorities of the occupied Tskhinvali said that Tatunashvili fell down the stairs while resisting law enforcers.

Tatunashvili’s body was handed over to the family through the mediation of the International Committee of the Red Cross after 26 days from his death, on March 10.

The government of Georgia, almost all the foreign countries and international organizations condemned the death and detention of Georgian citizens.

Tskhinvali de facto leadership reported they needed time for “comprehensive autopsy,” by Russian experts.

According to the results of the Russian autopsy, Tatunashvili died from “acute heart failure” caused by myocardial ischemia. However, a Georgian investigation is now underway to reveal the exact reason of death, as he had multiple injuries on his hands and face and his index finger was cut.