Zugdidi City Court found Abkhaz Border Guard Serviceman Rashid Kanji-Ogli guilty of murder and sentenced him to 12 years of prison in absentia over Khurcha fatal shooting, when Giga Otkhozoria, a thirty-year-old Georgian citizen, was shot dead.
The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia issued a statement on December 28 that the 12-year sentence is “light” and that it would appeal the decision in the Court of Appeals.
Otkhozoria was murdered on the Georgian-controlled territory at the Khurcha-Nabakevi crossing point between Abkhazia’s predominantly ethnic Georgian-populated Gali district and its adjoining Zugdidi district of Samegrelo region on May 19, 2016.
The CCTV footage broadcasted by Georgian television on May 20, showed a group of camouflaged men crossing the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL), pursuing and shooting an unarmed civilian several times and retreating across the ABL.
Military court in breakaway Abkhazia ordered on June 23 house arrest for Rashid Kanji-Ogli pending trial on charges of premeditated murder. The Georgian Prosecutor’s Office has charged him with murder on May 21. Georgian Interior and Justice Ministers said on November 24 that Tbilisi was seeking INTERPOL’s red notice for Kanji-Ogli.
Otkhozoria’s murder prompted the resumption of the Gali Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) on May 27, which was suspended four years ago after the Abkhaz side’s boycott.