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What happened in Baku airport?

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, June 23
Members of the United National Movement Irma Nadirashvilli and Zurab Japaridze are intending to sue Georgia’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan Teimuraz Sharashenidze. The issue concerns the still unclear developments that occurred in Baku airport on June 19.

On June 19, InterPressNews reported without providing a source, that MPs Japaridze and Nadirashvili were detained at Baku airport with large amount of undeclared cash and electroshock devices. Following the news, Georgia’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan Sharashenidze denied the information regarding the detention. However, he stressed that the Georgian MPs were really stopped and checked by the customs officers.

“According to unofficial information, they had a large amount of undeclared money. As for electroshock weapons, I do not have any information about this issue. A search process was conducted, which lasted for about four hours,” Sharashenidze said.

Information about checking and detaining of Georgian lawmakers has been confirmed by Azerbaijan’s customs office. However, no additional information is available.

MP Japaridze said that after arriving at Baku Airport and after checking in, a customs officer took his passport and searched him for unknown reasons that lasted about twenty minutes. He stressed that because of this, they missed a flight to Tbilisi and decided to have dinner until the next flight scheduled in an hour.

“When we arrived at the airport again, we saw the Georgian embassy representatives who was asking Azerbaijani customs officers how much in cash and how many electroshock devices were found,” Japaridze and Nadirashvili said, adding it was the embassy representatives’ actions that made Azerbaijani officers to search them thoroughly. The MPs state that they had an unofficial visit to Azerbaijan and one of the topics discussed there was related to the developments in Marneuli region, mainly resided by ethnic Azeri population, during the local elections in Georgia. The MPs emphasized that the Georgian embassy ignored them, refused to assist and spread false information.

Members of the United National Movement claim that the Georgian Dream does its best to discredit the main opposition party in the country. UNM MP Nugzar Tsiklauri says that Sharashenidze should be punished for spreading false information anyway. Fellow MP Sergo Ratiani called the case shameful and made the same comment in terms of the ambassador.

Additional information concerning the case is to be provided in the near future.