Georgian doctor detained in Tskhinvali says he feels normal in a letter to family

Vazha Gaprindashvili was abducted by occupation forces near the Russian-controlled Tskhinvali region on November 9 and has been sentenced to two-month pretrial detention for “deliberately crossing the border", which he reportedly denies., 20 Nov 2019 - 23:58, Tbilisi,Georgia

Vazha Gaprindashvili, a Georgian doctor who​​​​​ was detained and sentenced to two-month pretrial detention by de facto Tskhinvali authorities, has sent a letter to his family via the International Committee of the Red Cross earlier this week, saying he feels normal.

His wife, Tamila Lapanashvili told the Georgian service of Radio Liberty that the letter was written on the Red Cross’ paper without an envelope and did not say a lot.

The Red Cross visited Gaprindashvili in Tskhinvali detention facility on Monday. However, they also did not provide a lot of information about his health conditions as such visits are “confidential”.

Toivo Klaar, the European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the co-chair of Geneva International Discussions (GID), told Ekho Kavkaza that he hopes Gaprindashvili will be released soon.GID co-chairs Cihan Sultanoğlu, Toivo Klaar​​​​​ and Rudolf Michalka met with David Zalkaliani in Tbilisi. on Tuesday evening. Photo: Georgian Foreign Ministry press office

Klaar, together with other GID co-chairs travelled to occupied Tskhinvali yesterday, where they spoke of Gaprindashvili’s release with de facto leader Anatoly Bibilov and Tskhinvali representative at the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meetings Murat Jioev.

Ekho Kavkaza also reported however that at the meeting with GID co-chairs, Bibilov called the incident “provocation” as he believes that Vazha Gaprindashvili has “crossed the border on purpose". 

Meanwhile, during his visit to Brussels, Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani raised the issue of Gaprindashvili’s abduction with High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, acting chair of OSCE Miroslav Lajcak, Deputy Secretary General of UN Rosemary DiCarlo and Deputy Secretary General of NATO Mircea Geoana.

Georgian media report that Vazha Gaprindashvili was visiting a patient when he was abducted.

A day earlier, Zalkaliani spoke about the “immediate release” of Vazha Gaprindashvili with GID co-chairs in Tbilisi as well. Georgian State Minister of Reconciliation and Civil Equality Ketevan Tsikhelashvili has announced that the doctor will be released in a few days.​​​​​​​

Gaprindashvili was abducted by occupation forces, near the Russian-controlled Tskhinvali region, on November 9 and has been sentenced to two-month pretrial detention for “deliberately crossing the border”, which he reportedly denies.