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Res claims that the Georgian side exchanged Gakheladze for Gobozov

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Friday, July 16
Agency Res has reported that Anatoly Bibilov, the de facto president of the Russian-occupied region of so-called South Ossetia pardoned Zaza Gakheladze at the request of the Russian Patriarch Kirill. According to the news agency, Gakheladze was released in exchange for Gobozov, a citizen of so-called South Ossetia.

According to the agency, Gobozov, who was detained by the Georgian side near Lars, is already in Tskhinvali.

According to the Press Service of de facto Foreign Ministry of so-called South Ossetia, in addition to the involvement of the Russian Patriarch in the release, Gakheladze himself wrote a letter of pardon to Anatoly Bibilov, apologizing for his actions and thanking the ‘Ossetian authorities for humane treatment’.

July 11 marks one year since Zaza Gakheladze was illegally taken prisoner by the de facto Tskhinvali regime. A few weeks ago, the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II sent a letter to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill requesting the release of Zaza Gakheladze.

Initially, the de facto Supreme Court of the Russian-occupied Tskhinvali region sentenced Zaza Gakheladze to 12 years and 6 months in prison.

The Georgian news agency, Netgazeti reported yesterday that they have contacted the State Security Service of Georgia. According to them, the authorities did not confirm the information. The representatives of the State Security Service of Georgia say that Gakheladze has been freed thanks to the intervention of international mechanisms.

According to "Res", Gobozov was detained on neutral territory on the Russian-Georgian border, after which he was in Georgia prison. The agency's statement also reads that the Georgian side gave Gobozov to the Ossetian side a day prior to the release of Zaza Gakheladze. A TV company IR also issued a video of Bibilov and Gobozov's meeting.

According to Russian and Ossetian media, Vadim Gobozov was detained in September 2020 on the neutral territory of the Russian-Georgian border, about 300 meters from the Lars checkpoint.

According to media reports, 40-year-old Vadim Gobozov killed Alan Muzashvili, a 39-year-old dual citizen of Russia and Georgia, who had previously killed Gobozov's father, Alika Gobozov. Both the victim and Vadim Gobozov were truck drivers. The confrontation between them was followed by a traffic jam and verbal abuse.

According to the media, due to the fact that the crime took place 300 meters from the Georgian border and about 2 kilometers from the Russian border, the Georgian side launched an investigation into the case.

Netgazeti also reports that the former Public Defender of Georgia, Ucha Nanuashvili confirmed the news about Gobozov. He said that as he is aware, there was an exchange between so-called South Ossetia and Georgia.

Asked what the non-confirmation of the exchange by the Georgian State Security Service indicates, Ucha Nanuashvili said that the state wants to create a different narrative.