The New York Times Writes about the Detained Doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili

Tbilisi-based doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili, who was unlawfully apprehended by the Russian occupation forces near the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) with Akhalgori Municipality, has been sent to two-month pretrial detention, the Georgian State Security Service confirmed the information.

The verdict was made by the ‘occupational regime’ on November 15. Vazha Gaprindashvili was allegedly incriminated for “illegally crossing the border”, under article 322 of the criminal code of Russia.

Tbilisi immediately activated the hotline mechanism provided by the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM). The United States Embassy to Georgia also called for “the immediate release” of Dr. Vazha Gaprindashvili. Georgian State Minister of Reconciliation and Civic Equality Ketevan Tsikhelashvili said Vazha Gaprindashvili will be released in a few days.

She also added that all agencies are involved in releasing Dr. Vazha Gaprindashvili. Furthermore, she commented on the US assistance in this problematic ‘hostage’ situation. 

“Thank you @usingeo for your steadfast support! In these very difficult circumstances government of Georgia is doing its utmost to protect safety and interests of our citizens. Immediate release of Doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili is our main priority!” the Minister wrote on Twitter.

‘According to several reports, Vazha Gaprindashvili will be released in a few days, His health condition is stable. The Red Cross had some problems and we work on that issue,’- Ketevan Tsikhelashvili said.

International media outlets, such as the New York Times, wrote on the Georgian doctor being detained by ‘separatists.’   

“Georgia on Sunday demanded the release of a doctor detained by separatists after crossing into breakaway South Ossetia, which is controlled by Russia after a war between two ex-Soviet republics in 2008. Vazha Gaprindashvili, president of Georgia’s Association of Orthopaedist and Traumatologists, was taken to South Ossetia’s regional center Tskhinvali on Wednesday and given two months of pretrial custody by the separatists, Georgia’s State security service has said. The separatists say he crossed over illegally.” the New York Times notes.

Georgia’s Foreign Ministry said Gaprindashvili’s detention “highlights the alarming situation of human rights violations in the occupied territories”.

“We have mobilized the international community and spare no efforts to ensure that our citizen, Vazha Gaprindashvili, returns to his family in a timely and safe manner,” the Ministry said in a statement.

By Beka Alexishvili

18 November 2019 13:25