US mission to OSCE calls for immediate release of Georgian doctor abducted by occupation forces

The US mission to OSCE released its statement regarding illegally detained Georgian doctor late yesterday. Photo: US mission to the OSCE., 22 Nov 2019 - 11:44, Tbilisi,Georgia

The US mission to OSCE has called upon for the “immediate release” of a well-known Georgian physician and president of the Association of Orthopedists and Traumatologists of Georgia, Vazha Gaprindashvili, who was abducted by occupation forces on November 9 and has been sentenced to pretrial detention for “deliberately crossing the border.”

The US mission to OSCE also called for the “immediate end” to closures of the crossing points between Georgia and its Russian-occupied Tskhinvali region, which has been closed by the de facto government of Tskhinvali starting September 4, 2019, creating a severe humanitarian situation on the ground.

We reiterate our full support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders.  We once again urge Russia to fulfill all of its obligations under the 2008 ceasefire agreement, including the withdrawal of its forces to pre-conflict positions and the provision of free access for humanitarian assistance to these regions, as well to reverse its recognition of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Tskhinvali) as independent states,” the statement reads.

The issue of the illegal detention has been raised again at the OSCE by Georgia’s permanent representative there David Dondua yesterday, providing OSCE ministers with the details of the case.

Doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili was sentenced to two-month pretrial detention in the Russian-occupied Tskhinvali region on November 15. Photo: Firefly World. 

The de facto security committee of Tskhinvali said yesterday that Gaprindashvili “deliberately crossed the border and the step was well-planned.”

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia has stated  that the government agencies are working in a 24-hour regime to achieve the release of doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili by occupation forces.

Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani has raised the issue 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, the Georgian Foreign Ministry reported yesterday.

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.