TBILISI, DFWatch–The leader of the Kodori Gorge mutiny in 2006 was Monday sentenced to 12 years in jail.
Emzar Kvitsiani was convicted of mutiny and forming an illegal paramilitary group.
His lawyer said they will appeal the verdict to the Appeals court, saying that the case was ‘made up’ by Saakashvili’s government and that Kvitsiani’s guilt cannot be proven.
Emzar Kvitsiani was detained February 28, 2014, at Tbilisi airport. Since 2006, Georgia had offered about USD 60,000 for information leading to his arrest.
Kvitsiani was accused of military mutiny and organizing a terrorist attack.
Kodori Gorge is now part of the breakaway region Abkhazia, but before the war in 2008 it was under the control of Georgia.
During Eduard Shevardnadze’s presidency, Kvitsiani was trustee in the valley. He didn’t get along well with the new government of Mikheil Saakashvili, who came to power after the Rose Revolution in 2003.
In the end of 2004, Irakli Alasania, who then was head of the Tbilisi-based Abkhazian government-in-exile, abolished the position of president’s trustee in Kodori Valley, after which Kvitsiani with about 200 people announced their disobedience to the government. They reinforced positions in the valley and formed a paramilitary group under the name Monadire, numbering a few hundred people.
Monadire was a unit that had been subordinate to the Defense Ministry since 2002, but it was dissolved in 2005, a decision which was not received well in Kodori. The government then attempted to disarm the group, which Kvitsiani resisted against, and also made political demands.
As a result of a special operation in July, 2006, Kvitsiani’s supporters were dissolved. He himself ran away, and only returned after the change of government.
His sister Nora Kvitsiani was detained during the 2006 operation and served a jail sentence for illegally purchasing and keeping a weapon and participating in the rebellion. She was released in December 2012, following the change of government.