Georgian FM: my every meeting starts by raising the abduction of Georgian doctor Gaprindashvili

  • Well-known Georgian traumatologist and orthopedist Vazha Gaprindashvil was abducted on November 9. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 27 Nov 2019 - 12:50, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani says that he is starting every meeting inside and outside the country by raising the topic of Vazha Gaprindashvili, a well-known Georgian doctor who was abducted by Russian-controlled occupation forces 19 days ago.

Zalkaliani says that he phoned Gaprindashvili’s wife Tamila Lapanashvili from Germany late yesterday to brief her regarding the steps being taken by the government for the release of the doctor from the Russian-occupied Tskhinvali region of Georgia.

The family is very constructive. I want to thank them for their resilience and patience. I can only guess how difficult it is to be calm in this situation,” Zalkaliani said.

He stated that he raised the issue of Gaprindashvili at all his meetings in Germany, including at his meeting with German foreign minister.

Germany strongly condemns the illegal detention and promises to use all measures for settling the issue,” Zalkaliani said.

Zalkaliani, who is now in Strasbourg as Georgia has officially taken over the chairmanship of the Council of Europe, says that “every success loses its importance when our citizens are in illegal detention and they are deprived of the opportunity to live in peace.”

Only the Red Cross has been allowed to see the doctor in Tskhinvali Prison. Photo: Firefly World. 

Twelve local and international human rights organisations have addressed the Council of Europe Commissionaire for Human Rights, the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe and the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) earlier today regarding the abduction and the “current severe situation” in the occupied regions of Georgia, “urging immediate and active measures to turn this damaging situation into a positive track.”

The family of well-known Georgian traumatologist and orthopedist Gaprindashvili submitted a letter to the UN Secretary General via the Georgian Foreign Ministry on November 25, urging for sending the UN special commissioner to Georgia to help the release of the doctor.

On November 22 Amnesty International demanded the release of the doctor who was sentenced to two-month illegal, pretrial detention in the Tskhinvali region on November 15 “for deliberately crossing the border.”

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

Zalkaliani has already 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, the United States Embassy to Georgia, the US mission to OSCE 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.