In the Abkhaz Society, There Is Outrage Over What Happened to Karbaia

On 9 December, Temur Karbaia, a Gal Resident, Tragically Died, Allegedly Due to Police Actions.

On 9 December, Temur Karbaia, a Gal Resident, Tragically Died, Allegedly Due to Police Actions.

Vitaly Sharia | Ekho Kavkaza The Abkhaz community has been actively discussing for several days the death of Karbaia, a resident of the Tquarchal district and a Georgian citizen. Online sources vary in their naming, referring to him as either Temur, Vital, or Vitaly. The only unequivocal information comes from a mourning notice issued by his relatives, featuring a portrait of the deceased. It announces that his funeral will take place on Saturday, 16 December, in the village of Tsarcha.

Yesterday, a statement was posted on the website of the Human Rights Commissioner of the Republic of Abkhazia, Anas Kishmaria. It mentioned that, in light of available information, she had sent requests to the Attorney General, the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Gal district Prosecutor, and the Head of the Gal District Police Department. She urged them to swiftly conduct investigations based on this information and report their findings to her office. Kishmaria emphasised the unacceptability of using disproportionate physical force and violence against detainees, also reminding law enforcement officials to respect the constitutionally guaranteed human rights and freedoms in Abkhazia.

As of yet, there's been no official communication from the Republic's Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the ministry's website remains silent on the matter. However, the independent news agency "Aiashara" provided an update. According to "Aiashara," the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Abkhazia disclosed that on 6 December, in response to a report of a drunken individual harassing citizens with foul language near the Gal city market, Karbaia Vitaly Ivanovich, born on 30 August 1979 and residing in the village of Tsarcha, Tquarchal district, was apprehended at approximately 16:30.

The Ministry informed that Karbaia continued to hurl obscenities at the police and was unresponsive to warnings. Following identity verification and recording, Karbaia was placed in the Gal District Police Department's temporary detention centre. There, he behaved disruptively and attempted self-harm, leading to his transportation to the district hospital for medical intervention. On the morning of 7 December, after a preventive talk, Karbaia was released. Subsequently, it was learnt that Karbaia passed away on 9 December 2023 in the Sukhum CRH, where he had been transferred from the Gal hospital due to ill health. An inquiry into Karbaia's death is currently underway.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Abkhazia provided a similar, albeit more succinct, response to the "Gal-Media" editorial team's inquiry.

+ Law Enforcement or Lawlessness? Examining Temur Karbaia's Fatal Arrest
+ Abkhazia and Georgia: A Selective Approach to Human Rights

Abkhaz social media users are actively discussing this information, expressing significant mistrust towards the official statement. Some typical reactions include:

  • "Did he kill himself?"
  • "He attempted self-harm, and they 'helped' him to avoid suffering?"
  • "There needs to be some justification, doesn't it? The dead can't speak... I hope the officers get what they deserve, not merely house arrest!"
  • "The case will likely be closed soon, as always. With support, anything goes! Why should a police officer have the right to beat anyone?"
  • "No matter what was said or done, there are limits! Abusing language, inciting against Abkhaz, etc., is no excuse for law enforcement behaviour. And yes, I'm aware of the details through reliable sources."
  • "I have heard he was the victim of 'hot-handed' officers... Those with 'hot hands' shouldn't be in the force."
  • "Some get promoted after such incidents. One officer's wife even boasted that her husband would continue to beat and kill those who speak up."
  • "I have heard in Gal they beat someone so badly, not a single bone was left unbroken. Such brutality from those meant to protect is sickening."
  • "Only cowards act this way. Those who kill detainees are nothing but potential cowards."

In Sukhum, a recent discussion focused on the public receptions for human rights by the Centre for Humanitarian Programmes. The main topic was the "Violation of human rights as a consequence of systemic problems in law enforcement practice." Diana Kerselyan, head of the network of public receptions, commented:

Diana Kerselyan
Diana Kerselyan

"We cannot overlook the recent notorious case of a man's murder in the Gal district. It's deeply troubling. Regrettably, civil organisations have limited power in influencing a proper investigation. Nonetheless, we're hopeful for a fair and unbiased investigation, with the guilty being held accountable. We will be monitoring the situation closely."

This article was published by EkhoKavkaza and is translated from Russian.




Articles & Opinion


Abkhaz World

Follow Us