Protests against Arrest of Teacher in Pankisi Gorge
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, September 20Residents of the Duisi village in the Pankisi Gorge held a protest demanding the release of the Robin Scot Fund teacher Asmat Khangoshvili on September 19. The protest was attended by British founders of the Roddy Scot Foundation and foreign journalists.
Asmat Khangoshvili was teaching English to children in Duisi free of charge. She was detained on Friday and accused of drug trafficking. According to some eyewitnesses drugs were planted on Khangoshvili. As the mother of the detained states she was taken to Tbilisi and was remanded in custody for one month without any investigation.
According to Vladimir Lozinski, a Trustee and Director of the Roddy Scott Foundation, the participation of Asmat Khangoshvii in drug trafficking is not possible, “I and many people in the foreign community of Tbilisi have known and worked with Asmat “Shorena” Khangoshvili for seven years in a professional capacity. It is impossible that she would be involved in drug trafficking,” Lozinski said.
He was informed by his staff about the detention of Khangoshvili, according to which, she was arrested by a group of Tbilisi based plain clothes security officers in Akhmeta on Friday 16th outside the pharmacy there.
“Locals citizens tried to help her because they thought it was a kidnapping. The police told them to go away unless they wanted more problems. The local taxi drivers asked, 'why are you arresting this woman?' And they said, 'we have found drugs in her bag.' A local resident then said 'you have not even opened her bag yet.' The police then opened her bag and went through it, taking out her cosmetics,” Lozinski says.
The Pankisi Gorge residents think that Khangoshvili’s detention is related to her brother, Muslim Khangoshvili, who has been wanted by the Georgian Interior Ministry for years. Locals are of the opinion that the police believes that Muslim Khangoshvili will surrender to the police after the detention of his sister.
The Georgian Interior Ministry has not commented on the issue.