Mother unable to mourn deceased son as ‘checkpoint’ to Georgia’s occupied Akhalgori remains closed

The so-called checkpoint to Akhagori district has been closed since September 4. Photo: Radio Liberty/Free Europe., 25 Sep 2019 - 17:39, Tbilisi,Georgia

A mother living in Georgia’s Russian-occupied Akhalgori district was not allowed to leave the territory for several days to mourn her son who died in the Tserovani settlement, on Tbilisi-administered territory.

 The story caused public turmoil on social media, with the mother permitted to leave Akhalgori only late yesterday [while the young man died on September 22], Radio Liberty reports.

Local activists Tamar Mearakishvili and Temur Tskhurbati say that the humanitarian situation is getting worse in the district day after day as the so-called checkpoint has been closed since September 4 ‘due to security threats’ cited by de facto government of Tskhinvali.

 242 locals have gathered signatures and addressed the de facto leadership to reopen the “checkpoint,” receiving no answer.

 We live in continued stress. Food is getting more and more expensive. We do not know when the captivity will be over. This is nothing more than vandalism and sadism,”Tskhurbati told the Radio Liberty.

 Mearakishvili and Tskhurbati say that locals, who are deprived of free movement, are unable to buy everyday products, have no access to vital medicines [especially cancer patients] and quality healthcare.

 They say that students studying at the universities in Tbilisi and the teachers who travel to the region from the village of Tserovani are also “captive” in the district.

Two crossing points at Tskhinvali occupation line - Odzisi and Sinaguri - have been closed since September 4.

The central Georgian government, the US Embassy to Georgia and the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) say that the closure of the so-called border further complicates the situation on the ground and creates severe humanitarian problems. 

The situation became tense on the ground at the end of August when Russian-occupied Tskhinvali protested the opening of an ordinary police post in the village of Chorchana, Khashuri municipality, on Tbilisi administered territory, citing ‘security threats to locals.’ 

After Tbilisi refused to remove the post the occupying forces constructed two new “police posts” on Tbilisi-administered territory, near the village of Tsnelisi, Kareli municipality [bordering Chorchana] and closed the so-called border with Akhalgori district.