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Fathers of Killed Boys Join Opposition Presidential Candidate’s Campaign

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, October 2
Zaza Saralidze, father of the murdered teen Davit, and Malkhaz Machalikashvili, whose son was killed in the anti-terrorist operation in December, have joined the pre-election campaign of the united opposition candidate Grigol Vashadze.

The two men expressed their support to Vashadze on September 29, at the meeting with his supporters in Tbilisi.

Three days before, the fathers held a protest rally, asking for “fair investigation and punishment of perpetrators.” They called all political parties to support them but there appeared only the Head of Vashadze’s election headquarter, Giorgi Vashadze, member of the United National Movement Zaal Udumashvili and MP Otar Kakhidze from the European Georgia.

After this, Saralidze and Machalikashvili expressed their support to Vashadze.

“Zaza and I have been standing in the street for eight months already but cannot find justice…We will do our best to change this regime and finish injustice in the country,” Machalikashvili stressed while delivering a speech.

Saralidze also addressed the supporters of Vashadze. He said the authorities want to cover up the murderers of his son.

“I know the authorities trade with the souls of our sons…We will fight as long as it takes to find the justice and to see the proper punishment of all guilty people…We all have to stand together to change this system, which kills people,” he stressed.

Saralidze’s son Davit and another teenager Levan Dadunashvili were stabbed to death in a fight between schoolboys on Khorava Street on December 1, 2017.

On May 31, Tbilisi City Court charged two minors in connection to the murders - one for the premeditated murder of Dadunashvili and the second for the attempted murder of Saralidze; however, the court stated that could not determine who exactly had killed Saralidze, which sparked mass protests in the capital on the suspicion of an intentional cover-up.

Temirlan Machalikashvili, 19, received a head wound during a special operation in the Pankisi Gorge on 26 December 2017.

Georgian law-enforcers claim that Machalikashvili was shot when he tried to detonate a grenade. However, the family and relatives say that he was sleeping when law-enforcers shot him without warning.

The father of the deceased young man has several demands. He wants law enforcers to confess that his son was killed by mistake. He also demands his family be granted the status of the victim, adding his son was the victim of someone’s mistake.

The man calls on the government to hold everyone involved in the operation responsible, adding the authorities are trying to accuse his son of having links with terrorists.