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South Ossetians Ordered To Register Weapons

South Ossetian men shoot in the air to celebrate the recognition of South Ossetian independence by Russia in August 2008.
TSKHINVALI -- Police in Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia have set a deadline of March 1 for people to register illegal weapons or risk prosecution, RFE/RL's Georgian Service reports.

When Russia's war with Georgia over South Ossetia erupted in August 2008, many residents of the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, broke into arms stores and seized weapons to defend themselves. South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity has repeatedly called on the population to surrender those arms, with little success.

Fatima Margiyeva, editor of the independent newspaper "Pozitsiya," was arrested last week on a charge of illegal possession of arms even before the deadline for registering arms expired. She considers that charge politically motivated and has embarked on a hunger strike in jail.

South Ossetian oppositionists say her sole "crime" was to report openly and honestly on the situation in the self-declared republic.