In Geneva, in backroom conversations, for the first time we saw the prospect of resolving the issue of prisoners - the Minister of foreign Affairs of RSO Kazbulat Tskhovrebov
March 11, the released citizens of the Republic, convicted on trumped-up charges in Georgia arrived in South Ossetia. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Ossetia Kazbulat Tskhovrebov told the news agency "Res" about the work on their release for 11 years.
- Four citizens of South Ossetia, after 11 years of imprisonment in Georgia have returned home. What kind of work was carried out during these years, what measures taken to release them?
- Indeed, our citizens had to spend difficult 11 years in Georgian prisons. All these years South Ossetia declared the illegality of their detention and imprisonment and demanded their release. South Ossetian representatives constantly raised this issue in the format of the Joint Control Commission, as well as at other platforms. However, due to the unconstructive position of the Georgian side and apparent unwillingness to take responsibility for the decision, even not political, but purely humanitarian questions, there was not any serious progress to resolve the issue. In this regard, I want to recall with gratitude the efforts of representatives of the civil society of South Ossetia, first of all, Lyra Kozaeva, who also addressed this issue, and largely achieved better results than the official structures of the Republic. In particular, they assisted in organization of meetings with relatives and officials, in transferring of requests to the Georgian state authorities.
- On the international platforms - the Geneva discussions on security and stability in Transcaucasia and meetings in the format of mechanisms to prevent and respond to incidents, attended by representatives of South Ossetia, it was repeatedly raised the question of the illegally condemned South Ossetian citizens, serving sentences in Georgian prisons. How this work influenced on the course of events?
- The South Ossetian delegation at the Geneva discussions regularly raised the issue of prisoners. It is important to raise such questions at such international platforms; it stresses the importance and urgency of their solution for the Republic of South Ossetia. It was in Geneva in backroom talks, when for the first time we saw the prospect of solving this issue, and then practically implemented. In this regard, I would also like to thank all colleagues in the Geneva discussions and appreciation for the work the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of South Ossetia to the Republic of Abkhazia Oleg Botsiev.
- You yourself took part directly in the process of exchange of South Ossetian citizens in Abkhazia that was a truly historic event. What were your feelings at that moment?
- It is an unforgettable experience. When I opened the door of the minibus with our guys from Georgia, saying that they are free, they did not say a word and did not move because they did not believe in what was happening. I had to once again repeat it, but my heart at that moment was bleeding. And it is an indescribable state, when you are in the mother's arms, thanking "for the salvation of her son." These feelings will be with me forever.
- Most of the work to release the illegally convicted citizens of South Ossetia in Georgia has been done - our citizens have returned home. What support will be provided for rehabilitation of these citizens?
- From the Fund of the President South Ossetia and the Fund of the Government of South Ossetia are allocated funds for the initial needs of the liberated citizens. The guys are with their relatives. I think that in the native environment rehabilitation will take place as quickly as possible. If they need support or participation of the President or the Government in solving specific problems, I'm sure they can count on it.
- How many prisoners - citizens of South Ossetia are in Georgian prisons?
- At the time of the exchange we did not have any information about the other citizens of the Republic of South Ossetia imprisoned in Georgia. But now we have the information that may be the list is incomplete. This information should be checked. To date we have not received any information both from the relatives or the official authorities of Georgia. Several our citizens are listed as missing, but it is another area of work.