SUKHUM / AQW'A ― On April 11, officers from the State Security Service of Abkhazia detained suspects in connection with the vandalism of a historic linden tree in Lykhnashta.
According to the General Prosecutor's Office of Abkhazia, Irakli and Daur Bagatelia are accused of damaging the 147-year-old linden tree in the historic glade of Lykhnashta. Gudauta District Court ordered Irakli Bagatelia to be held in custody, while Daur Bagatelia was released under a written agreement to not leave the area and to exhibit proper behaviour.
The linden tree, which stands 19 metres tall and has a trunk circumference of 6.3 metres, was damaged on the evening of April 5. The vandals caused 15 to 20 centimetres of bark damage, prompting local residents to fasten iron staples at the affected areas to help stabilise the tree. Meanwhile, ecologists have taken steps to restore sap flow and save the tree.
A criminal case has been opened in response to the vandalism, and those found guilty of illegally cutting down the tree could face up to five years in prison.