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'Organs Missing' From Georgian Man's Body Returned From South Ossetia

The funeral ceremony for Archil Tatunashvili in Tbilisi on March 24
The funeral ceremony for Archil Tatunashvili in Tbilisi on March 24

The internal organs were removed from the body of a Georgian man who died while in the custody of separatist authorities in Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia region, prosecutors have told the family.

The father of Archil Tatunashvili and a lawyer for the family told RFE/RL on April 16 that Georgian prosecutors had told them that the organs were missing from the body, which was sent back to government-held territory last month.

Giorgi Tatunashvili, the father of the deceased man, and attorney Tamar Avaliani called on the Georgian government to do its upmost to have the organs transferred to forensic experts in Tbilisi so that they can conclude their investigation into his death.

Russia-backed authorities in South Ossetia say 35-year-old Tatunashvili died of heart failure on February 22 after he allegedly attacked police as they tried to move him to a detention cell.

Tatunashvili had been detained over claims that he was plotting terrorist attacks in South Ossetia.

His body was transferred to Tbilisi-controlled territory on March 20 after his death sparked outrage in Georgia and abroad.

The Empathy rehabilitation center for victims of torture, which took part in the forensic examination of Tatunashvili’s remains, alleges that Tatunashvili was most likely tortured to death. It says his body showed extensive signs of abuse.

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