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The Daily Vertical: Another Victim Of Empire (Transcript)

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

All wars, all occupations, and all empires have victims.

And all of the victims have names.

And we now know the name of one of the latest victims of Vladimir Putin's imperial wars and imperial ambitions.

This week the body of Archil Tatunashvili was handed over to Georgian authorities through the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Tatunashvili was a 35-year-old Georgian citizen who lived near the occupation line of the Russian-controlled South Ossetia region.

And like many in the area, he had friends and relatives on both sides of the boundary and often crossed to make his livelihood selling fruits and vegetables.

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On February 22, he was apprehended by pro-Moscow authorities who accused him of "genocide against South Ossetia," ties with the Georgian security agencies, and "preparing acts of sabotage" in the breakaway region before Russia's presidential election.

He died in custody.

Pro-Moscow separatist authorities say he fought with his interrogators and fell down a flight of stairs in the struggle.

Tatunashvili's relatives say his body shows signs of torture and claim that pro-Moscow security services in South Ossetia killed him.

Now, we don't know who is right, of course -- and it doesn't really matter.

Because we do know some things.

We know that South Ossetia is legally Georgian territory and that Tatunashvili was a Georgian citizen.

We know that he was detained by proxies of an occupying foreign power for exercising his free right to free movement within his own country.

And we know that if Russia wasn't occupying Georgian territory, Archil Tatunashvili would probably be alive today.

Keep telling me what you think on The Power Vertical's Twitter feed and on our Facebook page.

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