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Georgian doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili sentenced to 1 year and 9 months in prison by occupation regime

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Monday, December 23
Doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili was sentenced to 1 year and 9 months’ imprisonment by the Leningori District (Akhalgori) de facto court.

No one was allowed to attend the hearing, even though the trial was supposed to be open. The case was dealt with by the de facto court of the Leningori district (Akhalgori), which holds hearings in Tskhinvali. At the previous closed hearing on December 13, de facto judge Fatima Parastaeva left Vazha Gaprindashvili in custody for two months.

Representatives of the Russian occupation forces detained Vazha Gaprindashvili on November 9 in Akhalgori, he was charged for ‘deliberately crossing’ the so-called border by the de facto authorities. The doctor's family suggests that he wanted to help the injured in Akhalgori.

Rallies in support of Gaprindashvili was held in Georgia and many other countries. International organizations and Western states also demanded the release of the Georgian doctor.

The Georgian authorities also demanded the release of Vazha Gaprindashvili from illegal custody during the 50th round of the Geneva International Discussion, which took place on December 10-11.

The issue of the doctor's dismissal was also discussed at the end of November at a meeting between the Prime Minister's Special Representative for Georgia Zurab Abashidze and the member of the Council of the Russian Federation, Grigory Karasin.

The US Embassy released a special statement saying that the government of the United States does not recognize as legitimate the de facto authorities in the occupied region of South Ossetia, nor does it recognize as legitimate sentencing of Dr. Vazha Gaprindashivili.

The statement once again calls on the de facto authorities, and those in the Russian Federation who have an influence on them, to allow for the immediate release of Dr. Gaprindashvili.

As the statement reads, this case has developed in the context of other detentions, of a worsening humanitarian situation that endangers lives when people cannot receive appropriate medical care, and of a worsening situation along the administrative boundary line (ABL) which unnecessarily affects the lives and livelihoods of people on both sides of the ABL.

The European Union demands the immediate release of Vazha Gaprindashvili.

“We reiterate our expectation that the authorities in Tskhinvali will immediately release Mr. Vazha Gaprindashvili and return him to his family. We also emphasize the importance of taking immediate steps to restore the unrestricted and free movement of local people,” reads the statement of the EU.

Georgian PM’s Special Representative in Relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze said after the illegal imprisonment of Gaprindashvili that they would make every effort to return him to his family on time.

According to him, this illegal decision further aggravates the already difficult situation on the ground, from the security and humanitarian point of view, and also deliberately impedes any progress in peace negotiations.

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