"Ankvab handed over weapons to Georgians" - campaign against Prime Minister began in Abkhazia
Ankvab, weapon for Georgians and libel case
In Abkhazia, a scandal is gathering momentum around prime minister Alexander Ankvab. First, on the occasion of his 70th birthday, he was awarded the highest Abkhaz award – the order “Akhdz-apsha” (“Honor and Glory”) of the first degree. Before long, leaders of the “Aruaa” veteran organization published an indignant statement, saying that Ankvab was guilty of providing weapons to the Georgian side during the Georgian-Abkhaz war in the early 1990s. In response, the authorities had a libel case launched against the veterans.
Having timed the awarding of Ankvab to coincide with his 70th birthday, President Aslan Bzhaniya couldn’t have imagined this would cause such a flurry of criticism. Most likely, he’d simply followed the soviet-era ritual that is still popular with the authorities in Abkhazia – presenting state awards to famous people on “round” dates.
But the veterans made a special statement on this occasion, saying that “Ankvab is not worthy of such an award, since it should be awarded to people with an impeccable reputation.”
The statement listed the reasons why the veterans did not consider one of the oldest Abkhaz politicians worthy of the high award.
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He handed Abkhazia’s entire arsenal of weapons over to the Georgians
“Aruaa” claims that at the beginning of the Georgian-Abkhaz war of 1992-93, Ankvab, who at that time was the minister of internal affairs of Abkhazia, handed over all the weapons under his command to Avtandil Ioseliani, chairman of the Abkhaz KGB. Since the man was an ethnic Georgian, that effectively meant the weapons were ceded to the Georgian side.
The authors of the statement recall that a criminal inquiry was subsequently carried out, and it did prove the weapons transfer as a fact. However, lawyers qualified what happened as abuse of power.
He knew about Tbilisi’s plans to send troops to Abkhazia, but did not warn anyone about them
There is another accusation as well. “Aruaa” claims that the first president of Abkhazia, Vladislav Ardzinba, publicly accused Alexander Ankvab of having known about Tbilisi’s plan to invade Abkhazia, and of failing to warn the Abkhaz leadership about it.
“Subsequently, Ankvab was dismissed from the post of minister, and did not come to Abkhazia for many years afterward because of public censure,” the statement says.
He massively handed out Abkhaz citizenship to Georgians
Another point of accusation concerns Ankvab’s period of presidency – from 2011 to 2014.
The veterans say that he “did not want to solve important state problems and illegally massively handed out Abkhaz citizenship in order to stay in power for two terms, at the expense of Georgian citizens.”
These actions, according to “Aruaa”, led to a deepest political crisis in May 2014 when the parliament voted to dismiss Ankvab from office, and later Ankvab himself resigned ahead of time.
Libel case against Prime Minister
The Abkhaz law enforcement agencies found the text of the statement to contain signs of slander. On January 4, leaders of “Aruaa” Temur Gulia and Temur Nadaraya were summoned to the ministry of internal affairs. They confirmed that the statement had been written and distributed by them.
Now they are waiting for official charges to be filed by the Prosecutor General’s Office.
Well-known Abkhazian journalist Izida Chania calls the situation “comic”
“The prosecutor’s office does not want to address the violation of the constitution accusations that the opposition has leveled against the president. It downright refuses to acknowledge the damage caused to the economy of Abkhazia by prime minister Alexander Ankvab. It has failed to figure out if the documents proving corruption during the repairs of the Achguara power line are authentic or not. It won’t respond to the demands to conduct an investigation into the “poisoning” of Aslan Bzhania, the illegal issuance of passports, and so on.
But it spares no time, effort and resources to accuse opposition leaders of slander with regard to what is a well-known fact – the participation of the former interior minister Alexander Ankvab in the handover of weapons to the former chairman of the State Security Service Avtandil Ioseliani.
Not only is this a well-known fact. The prosecutor general’s office itself was also investigating the case.
Therefore, questions should be addressed not to Gulia and Nadaraya, or to the rest of the population of Abkhazia who have not lost their memory as yet – but to the archive of the prosecutor general’s office where the materials on this case must be stored, including the testimony of Alexander Ankvab himself.
If the prosecutor’s doesn’t have the documents, then the investigation should be carried out not on the fact of slander, but on the fact of an official crime – the disappearance of documents.
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