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President Calls for Releasing Georgian Doctor Detained in Tskhinvali

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Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili calls on the heads of international organizations “to use all available means” to achieve the release of Georgian doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili. Gaprindashvili, who “arrived in the [occupied Tskhinvali] region to perform his professional duties,” was detained near the occupation line with Akhalgori Municipality and later sentenced to pretrial custody in Tskhinvali.

In a statement released yesterday, the President noted that “there is a severe crisis in the occupied Tskhinvali region and it has become even sharper today.” Therefore, Zurabishvili called on the heads of international organizations to take necessary measures to improve the situation on the ground.

President Zurabishvili addressed António Guterres, UN Secretary General; Rosemary A. DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs; Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission; Miroslav Lajčák, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office; Marija Pejčinović Burić, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and other officials.

A rally was held outside Tbilisi State Medical University demanding the doctor’s release. Vazha Gaprindashvili’s wife, who also participated in the rally, called on the government to protect its own citizens.

In a statement released on November 15, the Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) also called on the Georgian government “to take all possible prompt and effective measures to [achieve] the release of Vazha Gaprindashvili from illegal custody, to make the best possible use of all available international legal instruments to overcome the humanitarian crisis in the occupied territories so that persons living there have possibilities to receive basic necessities, including highly qualified medical care.”

Amid Chorchana checkpoint crisis, KGB of the Moscow-backed Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia closed all crossing points connecting the occupied region with the rest of Georgia since early September. Tskhinvali noted that the crossing points will be opened as soon as “the situation returns back to normal.” Since late August, representatives of Tskhinvali, Moscow and Tbilisi held seven technical meetings to discuss the issue of disputed police checkpoint, but failed to reach any progress.

Odzisi crossing point, serving occupied Akhalgori Municipality, half of which are ethnic Georgians, has been closed since early September too. On October 28, Margo Martiashvili, who was transferred from Ikoti village of Akhalgori Municipality to Tskhinvali for medical treatment, died in the hospital after allegedly suffering from a stroke. The emergency vehicle from Tskhinvali had to travel three hours, whereas it would have taken just 45 minutes to reach Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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