South Ossetian opposition leader in hospital, supporters claim police assault

Former South Ossetian presidential candidate Alla Dzhioyeva is in hospital after she fainted during a police raid. Her supporters claim she was hit with a rifle-butt during the operation.

Dzhioyeva remains in intensive care in Tskhinval, the capital of the Caucasus republic of South Ossetia. Her condition is stable, but local doctors have asked their Russian colleagues to assist them in treating their patient. Russian medical specialists are now on their way to South Ossetia. Alla Dzhioyeva’s relatives oppose the idea of sending her to a Russian hospital for treatment and brain scan.

According to the agency, Dzhioyeva was hospitalized with a diagnosis “hypertensive crisis”. Authorities say Dzhioyeva fainted as they tried to serve her with a court summons. The South Ossetian Prosecutor General’s Office said they wanted her for questioning as a witness over an attack on the country's Central Election Committee last year. 

However, Dzhiyoeva’s supporters claim she was struck on the head during the raid.

“During the raid one of the officers hit her on the head with a rifle butt and she immediately lost consciousness,” claimed Fatima Kokoyeva, a spokeswoman for Dzhioyeva's campaign staff, as cited by Interfax.

Doctors confirmed no injuries on Dzhioyeva’s body. “Her condition is serious, but she regained consciousness,” the hospital’s doctor told RIA Novosti news agency.

The republic’s Interior Ministry denied the information that Dzhioyeva had been assaulted.

“We categorically refute the spreading rumors that Dzhioyeva was hit on the head by a rifle butt, which allegedly resulted in an internal hemorrhage,” said head of the ministry, Valery Valiyev, citing medical examination results.

Sources from Dzhioyeva’s close circle said that the ex-candidate’s condition worsened after she had spoken to Dzhambulat Tadeev, chief coach of the Russian wrestling team and a possible contender for the presidential post in the upcoming re-elections.

The conversation had reportedly taken place before the police came to the Dzhioyeva’s office. Tadeev is said to have demanded Dzhioyeva to give up her inauguration scheduled for February 10 and leave her headquarters, located in his house.

Alla Dzhioyeva was one of the frontrunners in the disputed South Ossetian presidential election in November 2011, which was annulled by the Supreme Court due to a number of violations.

Despite the fact that fresh elections are scheduled for March 25, Dzhioyeva claims that she won the previous poll outright, announcing plans to hold her inauguration on Friday. The acting head of the republic Vadim Brovtsev called her action an attempted coup.

South Ossetia is a former Georgian republic that proclaimed its independence back in 1990s. Following a brief war with Georgia in August 2008, the republic was recognized by a number of countries, including Russia and Nicaragua.­