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Tskhinvali Sends Georgian Doctor to Prison for 21 Months

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Court in Akhalgori district has sent Tbilisi-based doctor, Vazha Gaprindashvili to one year and nine months in prison for “illegally crossing the border” in occupied Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia.

Radio Tavisupleba’s Goga Aptsiauri reported following the today’s court hearing that the five-hour session was closed, and that ‘the judge’ Fatima Parastaeva chose the “strictest” measure for Gaprindashvili.

Detained in mid-November, Gaprindashvili was charged under article 322 of the Criminal Code of Russia by occupied Tskhinvali officials, and sent to two-months pretrial custody on November 15.

A week ago, on December 13, Akhalgori court left the Georgian doctor in pretrial custody, postponing the court hearing to December 20.

Gaprindashvili’s daughter, Irina then stated that the hearing was postponed because her father did not change his testimony and “refuses to say he crossed any border [since Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia is a part of Georgia].”

Violation of the article 322 of the Criminal Code of Russia is punishable either by up to two-year detention or forced labor, or fine in the amount of RUB 200 000 (about USD 3 200).

A number of local and foreign officials have called on Tskhinvali to “immediate release” Vazha Gaprindashvili, including President Salome Zurabishvili and OSCE group of friends.

According to the Georgian Foreign Ministry, “release of illegally detained doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili by Tskhinvali occupying regime” has been the key issue at the 50th round of the Geneva International Discussions (GID) over a week ago.

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

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