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Family members of father and son Archil, 59, and Paata, 25, Rogava, who were arrested on 6 April for allegedly crossing into Abkhazia, have continued their protests. On 26 April, they blocked the Enguri (Ingur) Bridge, which leads to Georgia’s de facto border with Abkhazia. Georgian police arrested Darejan Rogava, Paata Rogava’s sister during the protest.
According to Channel 1, relatives of Rogavas organised a human chain across the bridge, demanding that the Georgian government take steps to secure the release of the father and son.
When police ordered them to open the road, Darejan Rogava refused to obey and was arrested, leading to a physical confrontation between the police and protesters.
A meeting of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism was held in Abkhazia in Gali (Gal) on 25 April. Kakhaber Kemoklidze, Deputy Head of the Georgian Security Service analytical department said after the meeting that Georgia had raised the issue of the Rogavas.
‘According to the information provided to us, they are in a detention facility in Sukhumi and are in good health. The Security Service does its best to help set these people free’, he said.
He spoke about the issue with the Rogava family, after they waited for hours on the Enguri bridge for the Georgian delegation to return from the meeting. Kemoklidze said that Paata Rogava may soon be released, but the case of Archil Rogava is not yet clear.
The family was dissatisfied with this information, and demanded help in securing the release of both of them, warning that they would continue their protests.
The two were detained by Abkhaz authorities on 6 April after going out in search of their horse. Their family claims that they did not cross into Abkhazia voluntarily, but were forced to by Abkhaz border guards at gunpoint.
According to the State Security Service’s 2016 annual report, arrests of people at the border with Abkhazia is one of the major challenges for the services. According to the report, 193 people were arrested in 2016 at the Abkhazian border.