Reconciliation Minister Says Georgian Doctor Detained in Tskhinvali Will be Released ‘In Coming Days’

Georgian State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili stated on November 17 that Georgian doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili, who has been sentenced to two-month pretrial custody for “illegally crossing the border” by the Russia-backed Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia authorities, will be released “in coming days.”

“Based on information received from several channels, it will be possible to release him in several days, in coming days,” Tsikhelashvili said, adding that according to information available to her, Gaprindashvili feels “normal.” Tsikhelashvili slammed illegal detention of the Georgian doctor, calling it “absurd.”

Meanwhile, at 12pm today, thousands of doctors throughout Georgia made a live chain in front of their respective hospitals and pharmacies in sign of protest of Vazha Gaprindashvili’s “illegal detention.” “We want the entire world to know that it is not right to detain a doctor, who is performing his professional duties,” one of the demonstrators told the Georgian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

International support

British Ambassador to Georgia, Justin McKenzie Smith, said in response to Tsikhelashvili’s statement that he “sincerely” hopes that reports that Gaprindashvili will be released soon are confirmed. “When access to healthcare and education is becoming critical for many in South Ossetia, hard to understand what Russia-backed de facto authorities gain by locking up medical professionals,” he tweeted.

Stressing that Estonia “fully supports Georgia‘s sovereignty and territorial integrity in its internationally recognized borders,” the Estonian Foreign Ministry called on “the de facto authorities in Georgia’s South Ossetia region to immediately release” Vazha Gaprindashvili.

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