FM Zalkaliani Hopes Georgian Doctor will be Released ‘within Very Tight Deadline’

Georgian Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani said following the meeting with Co-Chairs of Geneva International Discussions (GID) late yesterday, that he hopes Georgian doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili, who has been sentenced to two-month pretrial custody for “illegally crossing the border” in occupied Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia authorities, will be released “within a very tight deadline.”

Minister Zalkaliani met with GID Co-Chairs from the European Union, United Nations and OSCE, Toivo Klaar, Cihan Sultanoğlu and Rudolf Michalka, respectively, after their trip to occupied Tskhinvali earlier that day. According to the Georgian FM, at the meeting they discussed “the conditions of a Georgian doctor” as well as “every possible option of his release.”

“I would like to express my hope that the process will end within very tight deadline with the immediate release of a Georgian doctor,” FM Zalkaliani said, noting that all of the international organizations and actors are engaged in the process, and that needed joint steps were taken to “maximally activate” all the available international mechanisms.  

A day earlier, on November 18, Co-Chairs spoke of recent developments along the line of occupation, including the detention of Vazha Gaprindashvili, with Georgian Deputy FM Lasha Darsalia at a meeting ahead of the upcoming 50th round of GID.

In its earlier statement, the Georgian Foreign Ministry reported that it is “using all of its diplomatic tools” aimed at suspending illegal processes on occupied territories and improving human rights situation on the ground.

State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili also announced on November 17 that the Georgian doctor would be released “in coming days.” Later, on November 18, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visited doctor Gaprindashvili in Tskhinvali jail.

Meanwhile, so-called Tskhinvali “security committee” (KGB) reported as if doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili took part in Russo-Georgia war on August 2008. However, his daughters Irina Gaprindashvili wrote on Facebook that “this information is false,” adding that “during the war of 2008 [doctor Gaprindashvili] served at Tbilisi’s Ghudushauri hospital, treating Georgians, Ossetians and Russians [alike].”

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