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Father of Killed Terrorism Suspect Says He is ‘Forced’ To Vote For UNM Candidate

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, November 20
Father of killed terrorism suspect Temirlan Machalikashvili says that he is forced to vote for the United National Movement presidential candidate Grigol Vashadze in the 28 November election runoff, as the current state leadership “has failed to punish those who mistakenly killed his innocent son” in the last year counter-terrorism operation in the country’s Muslim-populated Pankisi Gorge.

Malkhaz Machalikashvili, who has been demanding the “fair investigation of his son’s murder”, appeals to Georgia’s Kist population of the Pankisi Gorge not to vote for the ruling party-endorsed presidential candidate Salome Zourabichvili.

He says that in other situation he would not have voted for the UNM opposition candidate, however, now, “he is grabbing each opportunity” to see his “son’s murderers punished".

Machalikashvili claims that the support of the Georgian people is the only force which makes him stand in front of the parliament building in Tbilisi and protest against the injustice.

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 Achmed 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 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.

The Machalikashvili family is sure Temirlan was killed mistakenly and is demanding the punishment of the head of the Georgian State Security Service Vakhtang Gomelauri, his former deputy Ioseb Gogashvili and others who planned and carried out the raid.

Malkhaz Machalikashvili says that the special unit servicemen raided in a wrong house and killed his son when he was asleep.