Tbilisi Blasts South Ossetia For Jailing Georgian Man

Georgian authorities say separatists who control the breakaway South Ossetia region have illegally sentenced a Georgian man to 20 years in prison.

The Georgian State Security Service (SUS) said on February 5 that a separatist court convicted Giorgi Giunashvili of illegal border crossing and participating in the five-day Georgian-Russia war over the breakaway region in 2008.

Giunashvili, 39, is a resident of Disevi, a village close to the administrative boundary with the breakaway region. He was detained by Russian troops in June 2016 and was sentenced on February 3.

The SUS says that Giunashvili was jailed illegally and that the charges against him were fabricated.

Russia recognized South Ossetia and another separatist region, Abkhazia, as independent countries shortly after the war.

Moscow maintains thousands of troops in both regions, in deployments that NATO and Western governments say violate the EU-brokered deal that ended the fighting.