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Lawyer Says the Weapon Used Against Terrorism Suspect is Repaired

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, February 22
(TBILISI)--The lawyer of the Machalikashvili family, the family of the terrorism suspect who was shot during the December 26 anti-terrorist raid in the Pankisi Gorge of Georgia last year, claims that the weapon used by a special unit serviceman against Temirlan Machalikashvili was repaired when seized from the scene after the incident.

Lawyer Mariam Kublashvili told the media that the expertise on the weapon revealed that the pistol was repaired, and one of the parts was removed from it after Machalikashvili was shot, which could lead to destruction of a “very valuable” evidence for the defence side.

Now Kublashvili demands a new expertise on the removed part of the weapon and says the defence will involve an independent expert.

The Machalikashvili family says that they are waiting for the conclusion of the investigation over the case and strongly believe that the 19-year-old Temirlan Machalikashvili was mistakenly shot during the counter-terrorism operation.

Malkhaz Machalikashvili, father of Temirlan Machalikashvili, says he aims to “remove the label of terrorist” from his son.

He also demands “tough punishment” for the State Security Service officials, who planned the operation in Pankisi Gorge.

Temirlan Machalikashvili died on January 10, 2018 from the severe head injury he received during the December raid.

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

Georgia’s State Security Service claims 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 wounded and four others were detained for alleged support for terrorism, envisaging 17-20 years in prison or life imprisonment.