UK banker released from Georgia captivity: kidnappers treated him terribly

British banker Peter Shaw, who has been released from a 4-month Georgia captivity, said the kidnappers treated him awfully.

The British citizen, 58, a EU expert, was released as a result of a special operation of the Georgian law-enforcers in the Pankisi Gorge.

Peter Shaw told journalists in Tbilisi that kidnappers had treated him awfully badly. According to him, during his 4-month captivity he was kept in a pit with a chain round his neck.

The British banker said he felt all right but exhausted.

Shaw told newsmen that during the skirmish between law-enforcers and his kidnappers, he hid in the bushes and stayed there for about 30 minutes. He said he had seen the corpse of one of the criminals with his own eyes, while the other three bandits fled.

Georgia's State Security Minister Valery Khaburdzania told journalists that the operation to set free Peter Shaw and the skirmish left a member of the multinational group of kidnappers dead. He was former policeman Merab Mekudishvili, nicknamed "Tashkent".

According to the minister, "Tashkent" was fired from law-enforcement bodies for taking drugs.

The operation to release the hostage engaged special groups of Georgia's State Security and Interior Ministries. No victims have been reported among them.

Khaburdzania said that one group of criminals abducted Shaw and another one held him in captivity.

The British government has already been briefed on the banker's release.

Peter Shaw was abducted in Tbilisi on June 18th 2002 by a group of unidentified criminals dressed as policemen near his flat in Tbilisi. The bandits came across real policemen but, after a brief skirmish, managed to take the hostage from the city.

Peter Shaw was born and grew up in Wales. For over 30 years he worked in the banking system. In 1994-1996, he was banking assistant in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Estonia and Azerbaijan. From 1996, he worked in Georgia. For the past three years, he was a director of Agrobuznesbank crediting Georgia's agricultural sector, and worked as the chief expert of this private bank founded in 1999 with the EU's assistance.

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