The public organizations in Georgia call the Government and International Organizations and Diplomatic Missions to take all necessary measures under their respective mandates to protect illegally detained Irakli Bebua’s security, life and rights in the occupied Abkhazia and facilitate the process of his transfer to the controlled territory of Georgia.
“The de facto law enforcement authorities of occupied Abkhazia accuse Bebua under several articles of the criminal code of de facto republic, including the insult to state symbols, punishable up to 1 year in prison, intentional damage or destruction to property in aggravating circumstances, punishable by 4 to 7 years in prison, and illegal possession of a weapon, punishable by 2 to 5 years imprisonment.
Bebua was sentenced with 30 days of imprisonment as a restrictive measure and he remains in Sokhumi custodial until now. The family has a restricted communication with Irakli Bebua and does not have a reliable information on his treatment and state of health. The Treasury Attorney was probably appointed and the issue of his effective legal protection could also become problematic.
Irakli Bebua and his family are IDPs since the war of 1993. In 2016, Irakli returned to Gali to take care on his grandmother, but he could not come back to Tbilisi as he had not needed documents for so called border crossing. It is noteworthy, that his health condition is weak, he has chronic diseases and as he was locked down in Gali for 4 years, he could not take necessary treatment, which worsened his health conditions.
Illegal detention of Irakli Bebua is particularly alarming due to the political contexts and sensitivity of his case. The harsh comments were made in social networks, some of them request his severe punishment.
Taking into account the context of Irakli Bebua case and its related risks, we address and call for:
The Government of Georgia:
to use formal and informal formats of communication with Abkhazia de facto authorities and all diplomatic mechanisms for the release and transfer of Irakli Bebua;
to take relevant administrative and legal measures to protect Irakli Bebua’s security and rights before his transfer;
to take preventive political measures so that Irakli Bebua’s case was not another reason for the oppression of ethnic Georgians living in Gali.
The International Organizations and Diplomatic Missions:
to take respective political, diplomatic and administrative measures to facilitate protection of Irakli Bebua’s rights, security and life.
more specifically, the international organizations acting on the territory of Abkhazia, facilitate communication of Irakli Bebua with his family and examine and monitor his physical and mental health conditions”.
Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC)
Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA)
Human Rights Center
Democracy Research Institute (DRI)
Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI)
Center for Peace and Civic development