14:04 GMT +316 February 2019
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    Georgian journalist requests asylum in South Ossetia

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    A Georgian journalist and his family, who earlier criticized Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's political regime, have requested political asylum in South Ossetia, the foreign minister said on Friday.

    MOSCOW, September 4 (RIA Novosti) - A Georgian journalist and his family, who earlier criticized Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's political regime, have requested political asylum in South Ossetia, the foreign minister said on Friday.

    "The Gudadze family requested asylum in South Ossetia yesterday. Our authorities are working on it," the spokesman said, adding that the family was currently living in the capital Tskhinvali.

    According to the press and mass communication ministry, Georgian journalist Levan Gudadze and his family left Georgia because of threats "over his journalistic activity".

    The ministry said that on September 3 Gudadze with his wife, two-year-old daughter and mother crossed the border between Georgia and South Ossetia and requested asylum from border guards.

    "Levan used to run three information websites which were closed by the authorities one after another. He received threatening calls and letters that is why we decided to leave the country," the journalist's mother said.

    Georgia attacked South Ossetia last August. On August 8 2008, Georgian troops carried out a ground and air assault on Tskhinvali, South Ossetia's capital, but were expelled by Russian forces following five days of fighting.

    A total of 162 civilians and 67 Russian service personnel, including peacekeepers, were killed in the attack.

    On August 26 South Ossetia and another former Georgian republic of Abkhazia marked the first anniversary of Russia's recognition as independent states. So far the only other country to have recognized the two republics is Nicaragua.