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South Ossetian Presidential Candidate Hospitalized After Police Raid, May Leave Politics

South Ossetian Presidential Candidate Hospitalized After Police Raid, May Leave Politics

Alla Djioyeva (photo: RFE/RL)

After being hospitalized last Thursday under mysterious circumstances, the winner of November’s South Ossetian presidential election had, as of yesterday, told the press that she may leave politics and is reportedly considering asking for asylum in an unnamed country.

Alla Dzhiolyeva, 62, was transferred on Monday from intensive care to a “regular ward” in a Tskhinvali hospital after sustaining either a stroke or a “hypertensive crisis” during a police  raid at her party headquarters on Thursday.

Her supporters allege that she and other party members were roughed up during a melee instigated by police, who have said that they entered the building to bring Dzhioyeva in for questioning pertaining to “a coup attempt” and demonstrations late last year.

Witness accounts of the incident vary, with some saying that Dzhioyeva was struck in the head with a rifle butt, leading to her collapse and hospitalization. The South Ossetian de facto government claims that Dzhioyeva suffered a “hypertensive crisis” due to stress after police entered her party headquarters.

Dzhioyeva’s electoral victory in November was subsequently overturned by the South Ossetian Supreme Court. Since then, the breakaway republic has been in a state of political chaos, with a new election scheduled for March 24. But Dzhioyeva announced that, in defiance of the court’s decision, she would hold an “inauguration” ceremony on the 10th of February, a day prior to the police raid.

A number of demonstrations followed the court’s decision, with police firing automatic rifles into the air to disperse protesters during at least one rally. Dzhioyeva won an upset victory in November over Anatoly Bibiolov, the Moscow-backed candidate

What took place in party headquarters during the raid may never be known unless a video tape turns up. An aide to Dzhioyeva told the press that the candidate had been assaulted by police, who claimed that she was “faking it” when she complained of illness during the incident.

South Ossetian Presidential Candidate Hospitalized After Police Raid, May Leave Politics

Alla Djioyeva in hospital (photo: Pik TV)

Her condition was upgraded from “grave” to stable in the last few days. As of press time, she is reportedly still hospitalized in Tshkinvali, the South Ossetian capital.

Ruing her brief career in politics, Dzhioyeva told the press from her hospital bed that she never realized that politics “was such a dirty game.” The television footage can be seen here, courtesy of Pik TV.

 

Author

Karl Rahder

Karl Rahder has written on the South Caucasus for ISN Security Watch and ISN Insights (http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Current-Affairs/ISN-Insights), news and global affairs sites run by the Swiss government. Karl splits his time between the US and the former USSR - mostly the Caucasus and Ukraine, sometimes teaching international relations at universities (in Chicago, Baku, Tbilisi) or working on stories for ISN and other publications. Karl received his MA from the University of Chicago, and first came to the Caucasus in 2004 while on a CEP Visiting Faculty Fellowship. He's reported from the Caucasus on topics such as attempted coups, sedition trials, freedom of the press, and the frozen Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. For many years, Karl has also served as an on-call election observer for the OSCE, and in 2010, he worked as a long-term observer in Afghanistan for Democracy International.

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