De facto Tskhinvali says illegally detained famous doctor participated in Russia-Georgia 2008 war

Doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili was abducted by occupation forces on November 9., 19 Nov 2019 - 14:22, Tbilisi,Georgia

The so-called security committee of Georgia's Russian-occupied Tskhinvali region says that illegally detained famous Georgian doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili “actively participated” in the Russia-Georgia 2008 war as the “captain of the military medical service of the Georgian Armed Forces.”

In a statement released earlier today the de facto agency said that Gaprindashvili “violated the border” between Georgia and Tskhinvali on November 9, near the Russian-controlled village of Orchosani.

Gaprindashvili's wife Tamila Lapanashvili has dismissed the information. She told Radio Liberty that "Vazha worked in Gudushauri hospital that time [during the five-day war], almost 24/7, to help patients there. He did not leave the hospital for a week and the hospital documentation and staff will confirm this." 

He was treating everyone who needed no matter of their nationality... among them where the two Russian pilots who were shot down during the war," Gaprinashvili's daughter told IPN. 

The head of the Association of Georgian Traumatologists and Orthopedists Gaprindashvili has been in illegal detention since November 9.

He was sentenced to two-month pretrial detention for “deliberately crossing the border” on November 15.

Radio Liberty cites a source from de facto government of Tskhinvali as saying that Gaprindashvili wrote that he did not cross the border, as Tskhinvali is the part of Georgia and there is no border there.

Shota Bidzinashvili, a resident of the village of Bershueti, who was also illegally detained by the occupation forces and spent five days in the same cell with Gaprindashvili, says that the doctor protested the mistreatment of prisoners in Tskhinvali prison and demanded food for them.

Georgian Reconciliation Minister Ketevan Tsikhelashvili has stated that Gaprindashvili is likely to be released in a few days. Photo: Nino Alavidze/ 

We were given the food only after the doctor demanded this,” Bidzinashvili told the media, adding that Gaprindashvili was caring about his health while he was in prison.

The family of Gaprindashvili say that the health condition of the doctor is satisfactory and he has faced no mistreatment in the Russian-occupied Tskhinvali region.

The doctor’s daughter Tata Gaprindashvili shared the information with the Georgian Public Broadcaster after his father was visited by the members of the Red Cross in Tskhinvali prison yesterday.

The media reports that Gaprindashvili was visiting a patient when he was abducted and he refused to admit the “crossing of the border” [as the occupation forces demanded from him to say].

Georgian State Minister of Reconciliation and Civil Equality Ketevan Tsikhelashvili has stated that the doctor will be released in a few days.

According to our information, Vazha Gaprindashvili will be released in a few days. Now all efforts are aimed at ensuring that he returns to his family as soon as possible,”Tsikhelashvili said.

A number of officials and organisations, including President Salome Zurabishvili and the United States Embassy to Georgia, have expressed their support to Gaprindashvili.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry said on November 16 that they are doing their best to ensure the safe return of the doctor.