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Ex-security official says he and the man who ‘attempted his murder’ are at risk

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, May 15
Former Deputy Head of Georgia’s State Security Service (SSS) Ioseb Gogashvili says that his and Malkhaz Machalikashvili’s lives are at risk.

The statement comes after the allegations of the Security Service that Machikashvili, whose son was deadly shot in an anti-terrorist raid in the country’s Muslim-populated Pankisi Gorge in 2017, attempted to kill Gogashvili 'for his role in the fatal mistake.'

Gogashvili says that certain people may use the situation and try to harm either him or Machalikashvili.

“If something happens to him, everyone will think that Machalikashvili did that [when he, Machalikashvili, might be absolutely innocent]. If something bad happens to Machalikashvili, people may think that I did that. The scenario might be in the interests of some people who want the unrest in the country,” Gogashvili said.

He appealed to law enforcers to take appropriate measures to protect him and Machalikashvili.

Machalikashvili, who says that his son was mistakenly shot during the raid and has been demanding the punishment of Gogashvili and current head of SSS Vakhtang Gomelauri, has not responded so far as he was placed at a hospital on Tuesday due to health-related complications.

SSS reported earlier in the month that Machalikashvili attempted to kill Gogashvili at the grave of his father in the Zemo Machkhaani village of the Kakheti region, which might have claimed other lives.

'We have prevented the gravest crime,' SSS stated and released a recording in which, allegedly, Machalikashvili speaks with his brother’s son to 'study the territory of the grave.'

However, Machalikashvili has not been detained so far.

Machalikashvili responded that he has been fighting to reveal the truth behind the death of his son since the incident in December 2017 and had to endure 'very unjust, inhumane treatment from the government and the agency.'

“I might have had such a conversation. I had moments when I was outraged, abused and had such thoughts. However, these were only thoughts, and I always fought with myself. I felt the support of the Georgian people and decided to hold the killers of my son accountable only with the help of law,” Machalikashvili said.

Temirlan Machalikashvili was deadly shot in the December 26 counter-terrorist raid in Georgia’s Kist and Chechen-populated Pankisi Gorge, in eastern Georgia, and died on January 10, 2018, due to the injury.

SSS claims that Machalikashvili had a hand grenade.

The Pankisi raid came after the large-scale anti-terrorist operation in Tbilisi on November 21-22 2017, which saw Islamic State terrorist Akhmed Chatayev and his two accomplices killed and one detained.

Georgia’s State Security Service said Chatayev and his group planned attacks on diplomats in Turkey and Georgia.

The December raid in Pankisi aimed at detaining the people who supported Chatayev to come to Georgia, buy weapons and find an accommodation, security officials stated.

During the Pankisi raid, Machalikashvili was shot, and four others were detained for alleged support for terrorism.

The Machalikashvili family says that the Security Service rushed in a wrong house and a special unit serviceman could not differentiate a mobile phone from a hand grenade.

They state that the deceased is a victim, with no terrorist links, and all who planned and executed the raid must be held accountable.