FREE PETER SHAW: `SEND PETER HOME NOW' SOUTH Wales Businessman Peter Shaw Was Kidnapped in Georgia on June 18th. Almost Three Months Later His Fate Is Still Unknown. Today, the Echo Launches a Special Campaign to Hasten Mr Shaw's Safe Release
Byline: Tryst Williams and Louise Day
LATEST reports from Georgia suggest that a leading suspect in Peter Shaw's kidnapping has been arrested during a rescue operation in one of the country's most notorious regions.
But despite intervention by the British Government, British Foreign Office and European Commission, the exact whereabouts of Mr Shaw are a mystery.
Since the launch of anti-terrorist operations in the lawless Pankisi Gorge, seven arrests have been made, a government spokesman told a Georgian news agency yesterday.
An on-going sweep of the region by 1,000 Georgian troops began last week to stamp out terrorist and criminal groups operating in the area, which borders Russia.
The region is reputed to be a haven for Chechen guerrillas, as well as terrorists with alleged links to the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation.
One of Georgia's most wanted kidnappers, 33-year-old Khvicha Chopanashvili, was detained during a recent search of the gorge. Police had been searching for him for three years. He is suspected of kidnapping three villagers in East Georgia in 2000 and of killing his own brother.
An interior ministry spokesman was quoted as saying: ``As a result of anti-criminal operation, this person Chopanashvili was detained. Soon interior ministry will detain all criminals in the gorge.''
Some sources inside the country have speculated that Chopanashvili's group was involved in Peter Shaw's kidnapping.
But a spokesman for the British Foreign Office said it was unable to comment on these reports.
A spokesman told the Echo: ``We don't consider it in Peter's interests to talk about what is happening on the ground in Georgia. We are very concerned for his safety and our embassy in Tbilisi is in close contact with the Georgian authorities. …