EU, US, Baltic states call on Tskhinvali to release Georgian doctor

Gaprindashvili was abducted on November 9 and was sentenced to illegal, two-month pretrial detention on November 15 in the Russian-occupied Tskhinvali region, where he was allegedly visiting a patient. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 21 Dec 2019 - 10:52, Tbilisi,Georgia

A number of foreign officials have denounced the Tskhinvali decision to sentence Georgian doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili to one year and nine months to prison for “deliberately crossing the border” between the occupied region and the rest of Georgia in early November.

The new European Union Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Peter Stano stated late yesterday that the EU “has repeatedly called for the immediate release” of Gaprindashvili since his detention on November 9. 

In light of today’s developments, we again reiterate our expectation that the authorities in control in Tskhinvali release Mr Gaprindashvili immediately and reunite him with his family”, Stano stated.

We also underline the importance of taking immediate steps to restore unrestricted freedom of movement for the local population”, he added.

Photo: Nino Alavidze/

The United States Embassy also stated that the US government “does not recognise as legitimate the de facto authorities in the occupied region of South Ossetia, nor does it recognise as legitimate today’s sentencing of Dr. Vazha Gaprindashivili”. 

We again call on the de facto authorities, and those in the Russian Federation who have influence on them, to allow for the immediate release of Dr. Gaprindashvili”, the Embassy stated.

It also noted that the US “sees this unfortunate case as a symptom of the much bigger problem of occupation and aggression” affecting the lives and livelihoods of people on both sides of the occupation line.

Foreign Ministers of three Baltic states Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have also expressed their support to Vazha Gaprindashvili. 

FM of Lithuania Linas Linkevicius called on Russia and occupied Tskhinvali to free the detained doctor.