Hundreds of Georgians have been forcibly deported from Russia after Moscow's chilly ties with the Caucasus nation plunged to an all-time low following a spy scandal last autumn. Georgian officials say about 2,000 Georgians living in Russia and deemed illegal immigrants have been sent home in high-profile deportations. They say seven of the deported, who suffered from serious diseases, died on their way home.Georgia filed a suit against Russia to the European Court of Human Rights on Monday, citing deportations of its citizens from the neighbouring nation, Georgia's Justice Ministry said. "The law suit is based on hundreds of cases of flagrant abuses of the human rights of Georgian citizens and ethnic Georgians by the Russian Federation during their deportations," the Justice Ministry said in a statement. Georgian officials could not be reached for comment on what kind of ruling they expected the Strasbourg-based top human rights court to take against Russia. Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin as saying: "Such actions (by Tbilisi) are unlikely to help normalise the relations between Russia and Georgia, for which we aspire in our Georgian policies." Russia, enraged by Tbilisi's brief detention of four of its army officers on spying charges last October, cut rail, air and postal links with Georgia. Earlier last year Moscow banned imports of Georgian wines and mineral water. Many Georgians were deported in cargo planes. The United States and European Union have urged Russia to end its sanctions against Georgia which Tbilisi says are punishment for its willingness to forge close ties with the West.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007