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De-facto President of occupied Tskhinvali region echoes the detainment of Georgian Dr. Vazha Gaprindashvili

By Tsotne Pataraia
Thursday, December 26
Anatoly Bibilov, the de facto president of the occupied Tskhinvali region, made the first comment on Vazha Gaprindashvili, doctor kidnapped by the occupation forces. He said sentencing the doctor for 1 year and 9 months in prison is an adequate and fair decision:

"I can't say that the court's ruling is harsh or cruel. Absolutely not. Imprisonment for one year and nine months is an adequate sentence for the doctor. A person who breaks the law must be held accountable, especially when he does it intentionally. It should not go unpunished. The sad thing is that the situation is politicized," said the de facto President.

Bibilov thinks that Georgian, Western politicians and international organizations are making strong statements on the issue while ignoring the violations committed by Georgia. Bibilov pointed out the issue of the checkpoint of Chorchana-Tsneli, which was deployed by the Georgian side in August.

"Absolutely unlawful, in violation of all norms of international law, the Georgian side has erected a checkpoint on the territory of South Ossetia. Unfortunately, no one is paying attention," noted Bibilov.

The day before, the statement was also released by the so-called Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the occupied Tskhinvali, stating that any violation of the border in any state is deservedly punished and according to the so-called Foreign Ministry, South Ossetia is no exception.

"The Foreign Office could not pay any attention to the hysteria of demands for the immediate release of Georgian citizen Vazha Gaprindashvili coming form Georgian and western politicians," the statement reads.

In addition, the so-called Ministry has released its own version of Vazha Gaprindashvili's arrest. The statement said that the doctor went on a provocation:

"This is the first and the only version of why Dr. Gaprindashvili crossed the barbed wire. So far, neither Georgian law enforcement agencies, family members of the doctor and his colleagues, nor Gaprindashvili himself have provided any convincing reasons for his actions. As a result, only the most inconvenient politicians have taken advantage of the situation to increase political ratings," said the statement.

Vazha Gaprindashvili, a Georgian doctor kidnapped by the occupation forces, was sentenced to prison by the so-called Tskhinvali court on December 20 for one year and nine months. Gaprindashvili was arrested on November 9 for illegal crossing of the so-called border under Article 322 of the Russian Criminal Code.

The occupied Tskhinvali security committee says Gaprindashvili deliberately crossed the occupation line and refused to 'confess' to the crime. His lawyer, Vladimir Fidarov, also says that he does not follow his recommendations and continues to use phrases such as 'occupied territories' and 'occupation forces.' He also told the occupants on the day of the abduction that he was 'in Georgia, on the Georgian soil.' In addition, according to the State Security Committee of occupation forces, Vazha Gaprindashvili noted that he was in favor of Georgia's NATO membership.