Georgian law enforcement agents have detained a Georgian citizen from the country’s Muslim-populated Pankisi Gorge for his alleged links with the radical Islamist group known as Islamic State, based in Syria and Iraq.
Pankisi man detained for alleged links with Islamic State
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, November 24
Davit Borchashvili, 29, was detained on November 22 at Georgia’s Shota Rustaveli International Airport and was then transported to hospital as the detainee suffered from serious foot injures.
The Counterterrorist Center of the State Security Service of Georgia said the man was arrested for alleged "joining or assisting a foreign terrorist organisation”.
On this note on November 21, several videos were uploaded to Youtube, showing a man bearing a close resemblance to Borchashvili together with a group of armed men.
One video depicted the men in a car. The other video showed Borchashvili attending a funeral ceremony of one of the fighters.
The videos were uploaded by unidentified users known as "Pankiski" and "Al Shishani".
The family members of Borchashvili have claimed that “he has never been to Syria”.
Borchashvili’s mother stated that his son was in Turkey, seeking a job there and worked for a construction company for a while, which was where he received his foot injures.
The family members also claimed that Borchashvili tried to return to Georgia from Turkey a day before the detention but he was not permitted to cross the Georgian border.
The Public Defender’s representative stated that they are studying the issue and that they have questions as to why Borchashvili was not allowed back into Georgia a day before his detention.
The Ombudsman’s Office also said that Borchashvili was unharmed by the police officers who detained him.
Unlike his family, Borchashvili’s lawyer Gela Nikolaishvili states that Borchashvili was in Syria and fighting there within the ranks of Syria’s Free Army.
According to the lawyer, the Free Army is fighting against the Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad regime and the Islamist State.
“The Free Army is even supported by several world powers,” the lawyer stated, stressing that Borchashvili denied any cooperative connection with the Islamist State.