Five Georgian hikers who were detained by occupant military forces in the Truso Gorge a few days ago for “illegally crossing” the so-called border into the occupied territory of the Russian-backed breakaway region of Georgia – South Ossetia, have been released.
The hikers were set free from Tskhinvali detention facility after their families paid a fine of 2,000 Russian Rubles (GEL 70) for each person.
One of the released citizens, Vakhtang Gubeladze, said that initially, the Russian guards took them to the Russian military base and then they were held in a Tskhinvali jail for three days. He says they were not abused physically or verbally.
As the hiker explained, the group were detained near Lake Kelitsadi after they lost their way.
Before the release of the Georgian citizens, the Georgian State Security Service stated the European Union Monitoring Mission was also informed about the incident.
Georgia’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Giorgi Gakharia, assessed the detention of Georgians as a “very concerning” incident.