TBILISI, DFWatch–More than 700 people were detained on charges of crossing the de facto border between Abkhazia and Georgia in 2023, states security service of the breakaway Abkhazia.
Most of them were punished administratively, and criminal prosecution was started against 15.
According to the Sokhumi regime government, only 30 of these “crimes” are related to smuggling.
Although the Sukhumi regime does not publish more details, it is clear that the vast majority of those detained are residents of the Gali district, who, because they are ethnic Georgians, are effectively under severe pressure by the regime.
Gali residents have to travel to the territory controlled by Georgian central authorities for food, education, healthcare or other purposes. Due to the corruption and disorder at the block post on the Enguri bridge, as well as the lack of documents required by the regime, many people have to cross the Enguri River, which separates Abkhazia from the rest of Georgia, by detours.
This process, in addition to being risky in itself due to the strong current in the Enguri River, is also dangerous because these people are naturally “hunted” by the Abkhaz border guards and the Russian military, which are responsible for controlling the “border”.