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Doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili detained by occupation forces

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Monday, November 18
Well-known Georgian orthopedic traumatologist, Vazha Gaprindashvili, who was illegally detained by the occupation forces, was charged for ‘deliberately crossing’ the so-called border by the de facto authorities. Gaprindashvili was sent to a two-month pretrial detention.

Both international community and local authorities reacted on this matter, but the pressure does not seem to be enough. The U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi issued a special statement, calling for the immediate release of Dr. Gaprindashvili.

Also, the embassy once again called for the immediate end to closures of the crossing points along the so-called border.

“We once again urge Russia to fulfill all of its obligations under the 2008 ceasefire agreement, including the withdrawal of its forces to pre-conflict positions and the provision of free access for humanitarian assistance to these regions, as well to reverse its recognition of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states,” reads the statement of the embassy.

Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying that they are using all of its diplomatic tools to ensure the safe return of the doctor to his family.

As the ministry representatives say, they have already informed the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) and activated the Hotline, further noting that the Deputy FM Lasha Darsalia maintains contact with the co-chairs of the Geneva International Discussions, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Speaker of the Parliament, Archil Talakvadze also addressed this issue on his personal Facebook page, saying that the government is doing everything to help Gaprindashvili.

The President of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili addressed the international community to put pressure on the occupying regime to ensure the safety of the doctor.

“I call on the international community to react with all possible means to the detention of well-known traumatologist Dr. Vazha Gaprindashvili in the occupied Tskhinvali region. Such acts go against all international humanitarian rules and create grounds for additional escalation,” noted Zourabichvili.

Doctor Gaprindashvili was illegally detained near the village of Orchosani on November 9, as Georgian media reports, he was visiting a patient in the occupied region. Three people detained near the border, Ramaz Zadishvili, David Mishelashvili and Zurab Tukhashvili have been released after paying fine “for illegally crossing the border.”

Vazha Gaprindashvili is the president of the Association of Orthopedists and Traumatologists of Georgia and a leading specialist at the Mediclub clinic.