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Mukhtarli case must not be investigated by Interior Ministry

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, June 28
Georgia’s Public Defender says that the case of an Azeri journalist, Afghan Mukhtarli, who vanished from Tbilisi before appearing in Baku in police custody, must not be investigated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Nanuashvili says that there were allegations that Mukhtarli was abducted from Tbilisi by Azeri forces through the support of Georgia’s Interior Ministry representatives, which is strongly denied by the Ministry and the Government of Georgia.

“Currently we have no information about the investigation. However, the fact that the Interior Ministry is still investigating the case is a problem that raises question marks,” Nanuashvili said.

Nanuahsvili says that Mukhtarli's case must be investigated by the Prosecutor’s Office.

“The case must be investigated by a party which is more or less independent in terms of the case. Everything must be done for the fair investigation of the case,” the Ombudsman stated.

The international community has appealed to Georgia to investigate the case in a timely manner.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has released a statement over the case of Azerbaijani investigative journalist Afghan Mukhtarli, who disappeared in central Tbilisi on May 29. He was later found in Baku, the country in which he was persecuted for his journalistic activities.

Mukhtarli’s lawyer stated that the man was beaten up and Georgian law enforcers allegedly helped the neighbouring country to detain him, which, according to him, was a violation of international norms.

The journalist’s wife was offered Georgian citizenship by the country’s Prime Minister and the President, which she refused.

She said she and her husband had lived in Georgia since 2015, and until Mukhtarli’s detention Georgian authorities refused to grant her a residency permit despite her previous requests.

The government of Georgia denies any involvement in Mukhtarli’s detention.

It has been announced that Georgia’s security body will protect Mukhtarli’s family in Georgia.

Mukhtarli is now in pre-trial detention for the alleged illegal crossing of the border and smuggling of foreign currency.

Georgia has requested Azerbaijan to let Georgian investigators question Mukhtarli.

The Georgian side is investigating the case as an "unlawful imprisonment”.

Georgian Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze said that Mukhtarli’s testimony will be important for the process, so Tbilisi has requested Baku to question the journalist in the presence of Georgian investigators.

Georgia has also requested the criminal case materials that the Azerbaijani has regarding the Mukhtarli case.