Georgia to Hand Over 13 Chechen Prisoners to Russia

Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze announced on Monday that, after all official procedures have been carried out, Georgia will hand over to Russia 13 Chechens who were captured during an anti-criminal operation in the Pankisi Gorge. He also said that 'the prisoners are unlikely to be handed over to a third country'. 'I don't think that any other country will agree to take the Chechen fighters,' added Shevardnadze.

Georgian border guards detained 13 armed Chechens near the Russian-Georgian border between September 3 and 5. They were ordered to be detained for three months by a court in Tbilisi. Russia has repeatedly called on Georgia to hand over the captured fighters, but so far Georgia has refused to do so, referring to a lack of documentation and to the need to carry out investigative procedures.

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