Ineffective investigation of Jabiev's case, restriction of the right to a lawyer and repressions in Tskhinvali

Inal Jabiev, 30, who was charged with assaulting a car of the de facto South Ossetian Interior Minister, died in the Tskhinvali pre-trial detention facility on August 28, 2020 in "uncertain circumstances", after several days of interrogation. Analysis of information related to the case reveals that Inal Jabiev allegedly became a victim of torture and inhuman treatment that led to his death. At the same time, his case revealed serious systemic problems in South Ossetia/Tskhinvali. Jabiev's case contains a whole chain of human rights violations: violation of the right to life; torture; deprivation of the right to a fair trial; restrictions on freedom of assembly and association; restriction of the right to a lawyer, etc.

Russia exercises effective control over the entire region. It is noteworthy that an unreliable medical examination of the body of Inal Jabiev was conducted in the main forensic center No. 111 of the Russian Federation in Moscow. Ineffective investigation, violence against witnesses, an attempt to corroborate a false medical report - as if Jabiev died of a heart attack because of the withdrawal pains and not as a result of torture, are easy to see.

Inal Jabiev's case triggered large-scale protests. Pressure and harassment of those who in any way participated in the protests or supported Jabiev’s family continue to this day.

  • The de facto Prosecutor's Office declared Inal Jabiev’s brother Atsamaz Jabiev wanted for obscene anti-state remarks made at the rally and in the Prosecutor's Office;
  • Employees of South Ossetian "state institutions" were threatened with dismissal in case of participation in the protests;
  • Nikolai Tskhovrebov and Gersan Kulumbegov, who were detained together with Jabiev, have been interrogated as witnesses. According to media reports, during interrogation, one of the so-called police officers inflicted severe bodily injuries to They were tortured for the second time.

Inal Jabiev was not provided with a lawyer at the time of his arrest. His wife, as his legal successor/victim, is still deprived of the right of defence. In Tskhinvali, where the standard of human rights is extremely low, having a lawyer is the only legal way to protect one's interests. However, Jabiev’s family still has no access to the lawyer of their choice.

Local lawyers are mostly applied only in relation to civil or simple criminal cases, but when the case is politically sensitive, locals always prefer to bring a lawyer from Russia.

According to the information obtained by the Democracy Research Institute, the lawyer invited from Russia was threatened from Tskhinvali and was banned from entering the region. He has been waiting for accreditation for two months, but the process is delayed. Despite threats, the lawyer says he continues to work on the case. As a rule, the term for accreditation is one month for a foreign citizen. The fact that the law enforcers accused in Jabiev's case already have a lawyer from Russia, who did not face any problem in getting accreditation, once again indicates the selective approach to the case.

Violations of fundamental human rights, including the violation of Inal Jabiev’s right to life and its subsequent processes, are easy to see, and the local de facto authorities are responsible for the above.

The Democracy Research Institute

Calls on international organizations to take an interest in the investigation of Jabiev's case and intensify their work to monitor the human rights situation in South Ossetia/Tskhinvali;

Urges the Georgian authorities to make the protection and advocacy of the rights of all ethnic groups living in the occupied territories one of the highest priorities of the country's domestic and foreign policies.

Full information on Jabiev's case can be found here