Why a 'spetsnaz' team stormed a hospital in Abkhazia
A special forces detachment with dogs was sent on February 15 to arrest the leadership of the Republican Hospital in Abkhazia, but security forces did not find the head physician Apollo Gurgulia and his deputy Georgy Vouba at their workplace.
The authorities accuse Gurgulia and Vouba of abuse of office and the embezzlement of 1.2 million rubles [approximately $16,500]. However, both the public and the parliament have sided with the doctors.
The medical community of Abkhazia issued a joint statement, saying they consider the appearance of special forces in the hospital “degrading and insulting the honor and dignity … of the entire medical community.”
“People in white coats are not bandits from the high road. When I arrived at the Republican Hospital, there were over 20 masked people with dogs. Was there really a need to detain doctors in this way? This lowers the honor of doctors as a whole,” says Igor Dzhopua, head physician of the Children’s Republican Hospital.
The document, under which the doctors of all medical institutions put their signatures, has become the subject of discussion in parliament. The MPs invited Prosecutor General Adgur Agrba to the hearing and sharply criticized him.
Most of all, the prosecutor received from the chairman of the parliamentary committee on state and legal policy heavy criticism:
“They organized such a disproportionate aggression with the use of special forces, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, employees of the criminal investigation department, handcuffed them, tried to detain, paralyzing the activities of the Republican Hospital. Someone had a heart attack,” he said.
- Op-ed: Corruption is treason to the motherland – or what the constitution of Abkhazia should be
- Op-Ed: Crisis in Abkhazia unavoidable. How the authorities deal with it is vita
“Stalinist methods” to simulate the fight against corruption
Social media users have accused the authorities of employing ‘Stalinist methods.’
In particular, they note the history of the “doctors’ case” in the Soviet Union in the early 1950s, when dozens of doctors were arrested on trumped-up charges of “deliberately killing party and government leaders.”
MP Valery Agrba believes that the prosecutor’s office is trying to imitate the fight against real corruption through the “doctors’ case”.
As for Gurgulia and Vouba, a check was conducted over ten months, and as a result, a decision was made to refuse to initiate a criminal case. But on February 1, the prosecutor’s office canceled this decision, and then on February 9 opened a criminal case.
“At the same time, neither Gurgulia, nor Vouba, nor Tskua was handed any procedural act, that is, they were deprived of the opportunity to defend their rights, because they could have appealed against it in court,” the deputy says.
He demanded from the prosecutor’s office to answer why the fight against corruption is being carried out exclusively in the case of the Republican Hospital, where the amount of damage is 1.2 million rubles, but the progress of the investigation in other important cases is not reported.
The MP named among them the theft of almost 1 billion rubles [about $14 million] from Sberbank and 50 million rubles [about $ 680,000] during the renovation of the Tkuarchal hospital, “which is why we have not been able to start building a children’s hospital for more than two years.”
Another deputy, Almas Jopua, also spoke about the disproportionate response of the Prosecutor General’s Office. So, according to him, over the seven years of his work in parliament, a lot of corruption cases were sent to the Prosecutor General’s Office from the Control Chamber and from the parliament itself, which did not receive any response.
According to Dzhopua, the question of the resignation of the prosecutor general should be raised.
Deputy Prosecutor General Ruslan Tyrkba believes that the criticism of MP Valery Agrba can be explained by his bias. “Let’s tell the truth to the end,” Tyrkba said and told the following story:
“On the eve of Valery Agrba personally came to my office, accompanied by Georgy Vouba. The case has not yet been initiated … You suggested that I remove the name of George Vouba from the plot of this performance. I didn’t want to talk about it, but it needs attention. In my opinion, you are partly the initiator and detonator of this situation ”.
Deputy Agrba called these words slander, demanded an investigation and said that for this he was ready to renounce his parliamentary immunity.
“If there was such a thing, the deputy prosecutor general was obliged to initiate a criminal case against me,” Agrba said and advised the leadership of the prosecutor general’s office “to remove the shoulder straps and go to the covid center to carry oxygen cylinders”.
Toponyms, terminology, views and opinions expressed by the author are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of JAMnews or any employees thereof. JAMnews reserves the right to delete comments it considers to be offensive, inflammatory, threatening or otherwise unacceptable