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Georgian Ombudsman Points to Errors in Residence Permit for Azeri Journalist

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, December 18
(TBILISI) -- Georgia’s Public Defender announced that former Ombudsman Ucha Nanuashvili, addressed the State Security Service and Public Service Development Agency of Georgia to eliminate the errors detected to the issuance of a residence permit to Azeri journalist Leyla Mustafayeva.

Mustafayeva is the wife of Afghan Mukhtarli, an Azeri investigative journalist who opposes strongman Ilham Aliyev’s government.

Mukhtarli disappeared in Tbilisi on May 29 and re-emerged in the Azeri capital Baku the next day in detention.

In 2016 Georgian agencies refused the issuance of a work permit to Mustafayeva, who had been living in Georgia since 2015 with her husband and daughter, due to problems with the authoritarian Aliyev government in Baku.

Mustafayeva claims she was refused a residency card because of her “dangerous political activities.”

The public defender issued a statement saying the decision to refuse Mustafayeva her legal right to remain in Georgia was based on faulty information and a lack of evidence.

Georgian law enforcement officials have been accused of abducting Mukhtarli and handing him over to Azerbaijan’s security services.

Mustafayeva and her daughter fled to Europe several months ago out of fear she would also be extradited to Azerbaijan. Mukhtarli is still in custody Baku, held on charges that he illegally crossed the border and carried undeclared foreign currency.