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Georgian official dismisses reports of human experiments at US-run lab near Tbilisi

Georgia’s former state security minister has told reporters that he had evidence confirming the center staged risky experiments

TBILISI, September 16. /TASS/. Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze dismissed reports of experiments on humans as "absurd" at the Richard Lugar Public Health Research Center near Georgia's capital of Tbilisi.

"These reports about secret tests on humans in the [Lugar] center are baseless and absurd. The laboratory functions in a transparent manner, its doors are open to foreign scientists and experts," Abashidze said in an interview with the Georgian Public Television.

"In order to ensure the center’s transparency, the laboratory will host an international seminar and experts and specialists from almost 20 countries will be participating in the event," the Georgian official added. "Georgian authorities have repeatedly said that the lab is open to everyone. So come, have a look, find out more about it."

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday it was studying documents published by Georgia’s ex-State Security Minister, Igor Giorgadze, concerning the United States’ biological weapons program. According to the ministry, facts and documents that were made public "contain evidence of serious violations by the US side of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and their Destruction, which the United States ratified in 1972."

Georgia’s former State Security Minister, Igor Giorgadze, told reporters at a news conference in Moscow on September 11 that he had evidence confirming that the center staged risky experiments. He also said that the US military and private contractors could be engaged in secret experiments on humans there. Also, he urged US President Donald Trump to order an investigation into the laboratory’s activities.

Meanwhile, Defense Department spokesman Eric Pahon told TASS that Giorgadze’s statements were baseless.

The Richard Lugar Public Health Research Center opened in Alekseyevka near Tbilisi’s international airport in 2011 under a US government program. The Center conducts research into biological threats.