14 April 2010, 19:00

Georgian soldier's family sues Russia at ECtHR

The Association of Young Lawyers of Georgia (AYLG) has filed a claim to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in favour of relatives of a Georgian soldier lost during the August events in South Ossetia in 2008. The claim refers to facts of torture and murder by Russian and Ossetian militaries of the Georgian soldier named Georgiy Antsukhelidze.

The young man took his service in the 41st battalion of the 4th Brigade in Vasiani. From August 9, 2008, on, after clashes in the city of Tskhinvali, for almost five months he was listed among missing persons. On December 12, 2008, DNA examination identified Antsukhelidze's body, which was buried into the mass cemetery of Mukhatgverdi village.

In January 2009, two video clips appeared in the Internet, clearly showing how Ossetian and Russian militaries were torturing a Georgian soldier. Antsukhelidze's family recognized Georgiy in the victim.

The applicants to the ECtHR are the widow of the soldier Maka Chikviladze and their two minor children. On their behalf the AYLG claims violation of Articles 2, 3, 5 and 13 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). Along with that, the Association assures that the violation by Russia of the above Articles of the Convention was caused by Antsukhelidze's ethnic origin and his Georgia citizenship, which is a breach of Article 14 of the ECHR, the "Georgia Online" Agency reports. The complaint was submitted to Strasbourg on April 8.

The "Echo of the Caucasus" Radio reports that one of the above video clips shows how Ossetian soldiers jump on Georgiy Antsukhelidze who is sitting and force him kiss the ground. His face is bleeding, and hands are roped. The other clip, which can be also found in the Internet, Georgiy is shown fainted on the ground, while the Ossetian military standing over him tries to drive away other men who in turn try to kick the head of the Georgian soldier.

Last October the family filed an official request to the Russian Prosecutor's Office asking to hold an inquiry into the reasons of Georgiy's death, but failed to receive any answer; therefore, the ECtHR has become their next instance.

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