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Russia-backed offender walks free after three years from the brutal murder of Georgian man

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, May 21
A murderer in Georgia’s Russian-occupied Abkhazia region, Rashid Kanji-Ogli, still walks free three years from the brutal murder of 31-year-old Georgian citizen Giga Otkhozoria, killed with six gunshots on the Tbilisi-administered territory, in the village of Khurcha, near the so-called border with occupied Abkhazia.

Georgia has been demanding the punishment of the offender, sentenced in absentia by the Georgian court. However, the issue remains unsettled as the de-facto authorities cite 'no sufficient evidence' as the reason, even though the video footage depicting the murder exists.

Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Ketevan Tsikhelashvili says that the murderer will be held accountable, no matter how long the process takes.

The murder has triggered an international outcry, with the Georgian government still raising the issue at all International Prevention and Response Mechanisms Meetings (IPRM) held in Georgia with the representatives of the Russia-controlled Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, as well as at international events.

Kanji-Ogli was sentenced to 12 years in prison in absentia by Zugdidi court in western Georgia shortly after the murder.

The offender was detained by the de-facto leadership of Abkhazia but was released soon, 'due to the lack of evidence.'

Georgia placed full responsibility onto Russia for the murder. However, the Russian Foreign Ministry 'advised' Georgia to settle the problem with the 'government of Abkhazia.'

Otkhozoria was trying to transport food into the breakaway region for a funeral ceremony for his late aunt on May 19, 2016.

Locals said the border guards demanded Otkhozoria to pay in exchange for transporting the goods, which caused a dispute. They said Otkhozoria ran away to the village but was shot as he retreated.

Otkhozoria was on Georgian-controlled territory at around 2:30 p.m when he was shot.

He left behind his wife with two children.