17 May 2019 17:19

Abkhazian opposition demands investigation of case of leader Bzhania's poisoning

SUKHUM. May 17 (Interfax) - The Abkhazian opposition has demanded that the case of the possible poisoning of a member of parliament, Opposition Forces Bloc leader Aslan Bzhania, be initiated.

"According to the results of analyses conducted in a Munich laboratory, elevated levels of mercury and aluminum, as well as an elevated amount of benzodiazepine and cadmium, were found in Bzhania's blood," according to a statement released by the Nationwide Movement to Defend Abkhazia's Statehood.

The opposition movement's headquarters received the results of a medical test conducted in Germany from Bzhania's family on May 16, the statement said.

"The conclusions of a whole group of experts indicate an outside criminal influence aiming at the physical elimination of the opposition leader," it said.

According to the opposition, "the assassination attempt was directly linked to the political activities of Bzhania, an indisputable favorite for the electoral race in 2019; [it] was committed in order to interfere with his participation in the country's presidential election."

"We support the public's demand on the need for a meticulous and open investigation of this heinous crime," the document said.

On April 18, Abkhazian opposition leader Bzhania was rushed to a Sochi hospital due to an abrupt deterioration in his health.

According to a statement of the Nationwide Movement to Defend Abkhazia's Statehood, "Sochi doctors were unable to make an unambiguous diagnosis and the decision to transport him to Moscow was urgently made over Aslan Bzhania's deteriorating health."

"On April 19, Bzhania was hospitalized in a critical condition in the neurology department of the 12th Moscow City Clinical Hospital. According to the Moscow medics who provided first aid to Bzhania it was 'quite likely' that he could have died during the flight from Sochi to Moscow," the statement said.

Movement representatives confirmed at a press conference that Moscow doctors had diagnosed Bzhania with viral pneumonia.

The movement additionally said that it would be appropriate to postpone the presidential election in the country for this fall.

The Abkhazian parliament earlier scheduled the presidential election for July 21.