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Georgia Releases Jailed Ossetians

Georgia -- conflict zones - Abkhazia and South Ossetia
GORI, Georgia -- Georgian authorities have begun releasing Ossetians who were serving prison terms for criminal offenses or facing criminal charges, RFE/RL's Echo of the Caucasus Service reports.

Three Ossetians were released on March 29 and two more Ossetians and one Georgian were freed today in the goodwill gesture by Georgian authorities.

Two of them -- Taimuraz Amzoev and Zaurbek Khestanov -- are Russian citizens from North Ossetia. The other four -- Vadim Tadtayev, Khatuna Charayeva, Gennady Pliyev, and Goleri Toroshelidze (an ethnic Georgian) -- are permanent residents of Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia.

Officials in Tbilisi say no other Ossetians arrested since the Russian-Georgian war in August 2008 remain in Georgian prisons.

It is not clear whether the de facto authorities in South Ossetia plan to reciprocate by releasing jailed Georgians.