Videos have gone viral on social media allegedly depicting the beating and abuse of prisoners in Georgia’s Russian-occupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region.
Local activists say that the prisoners, who have been on hunger strike in Tskhinvali prison since September 27 to protest new regulations and ‘starvation’, were physically abused on October 2 and forced to eat.
The prisoners have protested a new rule which allowed families to send food to them only once a month, adding that the prison administration often deprived them of food as “it is one of the methods of torturing us.”
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia has stated that he has not seen the videos, but said that the only way to prevent such incidents is to act with international partners.
The only reasonable and legitimate way [to respond to the issue] is to inform the international community, all those involved in the conflict resolution in Georgia, and act with them to prevent such incidents,” Gakharia said.
Georgian Reconciliation Minister Ketevan Tsikhelashvili says that as of now “it is impossible” for the central Georgian government to control or prevent such incidents in Tskhinvali, as neither the central government nor any international organizations are allowed in the regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali.
Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru and Syria have recognized the Georgian regions as independent republics after the Russia-Georgia 2008 war.
The rest of the international community says that the regions are occupied by Russia.
No international organizations are allowed by Russia or de facto authorities into the regions.
The only international mission which monitors the situation at the occupation lines is the European Union Monitoring mission.
De facto authorities frequently close so-called borders with the rest of Georgia which creates a severe humanitarian situation in the regions as locals buy vital products in the rest of Georgia.
The so-called border with Akhalgori District (currently under Russian occupation in Tskhinvali) has been closed for more than 45 days.