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Ranks of the Georgian political prisoners joined by another one2009-05-28 23:40
The case of Vladimir Vakhania, a Russian arrested in Zugdidi, in whose support there has been held a recent picket in Moscow, is considered by the Georgian ombudsman's administration. Being a Moscow businessman, a lawyer and servicemen's rights defender, he is accused of keeping of weapon and is suspected of being associated with the Russian special services.
In the middle of March, the Georgian court set the pre-trial restrictions for Vladimir Vakhania in the form of a two-month confinement. It has been already three months that the Russian businessman and lawyer is neither released, nor tried. It looks like they cannot collect enough evidence of his "involvement" with the Russian special services.
A week ago, Vladimir Vakhania published an open letter in Nezavisimaya Gazeta (The Independent Newspaper) addressed to his countrymen and friends. It started with the words of regret about the reason that is currently bringing apart the Russian and the Georgian people. "I am sure that all of us support the normalization of the Russian-Georgian relationship... we deeply mourn for all those who have died in the tragic events of August 2008", - Vakhania writes. But he believes in "the warmth that the Russians and the Georgians have preserved for each other". Many times he tried to bring this message to the hearts of people in his round-table speeches, answering the questions of the Moscow journalists or talking to his friends in his native Zugdidi.
Vakhania is rather widely known in Moscow as the former Deputy Director of Moscow Institute of International Law, doctor of law, defender of rights of the officers that have no dwellings. He is also known in Georgia; as an exception, he was granted the Georgian citizenship despite the Russian citizenship he had already had by that time.
He was under no suspicion then; but this spring, right in the middle of the informational war with Russia, the Georgian authorities suddenly had and idea: Vladimir Vakhania might turn to be a spy! Firstly, according to RIA Novosti, he worked for the Russian prosecutor's office. Secondly, he was the member of the Union of Journalists. Thirdly, he headed the trade union of servicemen and the law-enforcement officers in Moscow region. Fourthly, he spoke against Gerogia's joining NATO, supposing that it "will mean the loss of the territorial integrity for the Georgian state". The last straw to break the camel's back was evidently the establishment of the Mtliani Sakartvelo ("The Whole Georgia") party. On the 11th of March, this political organization held a founding congress, and that was the day when a criminal case against Vladimir Vakhania was initiated.
However, Vakhania's problems had started half a year earlier. According to web-site Release Vladimir Vakhania!!!, in October 2008 he was detained for having illegal double citizenship in the airport of Tbilisi when he was emplaning for Baku. He sent his family with his three children to Moscow and stayed. The MIA representatives took away both his passports, the Georgian and the Russian one and never returned them, though by law they were just to deport him from the country. Naturally, he was unable to return back to Russia with no documents on him. However, despite his numerous appeals to the president of Georgia, the prosecutor's office, to MFA and other authorities no one helped him.