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Man accused of alleged links with IS sent to pre-trial detention

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, November 26
A man who has been recently detained for his alleged connection with radical Islamist group, the so-called Islamic State (IS), has been sentenced to pre-trial detention.

Davit Borchashvili, 29, was detained at Tbilisi International Airport on returning from Turkey on November 22.

After being apprehended, he was immediately transported to hospital, having suffered serious injuries to his leg.

He has been operated on and now is under the supervision of doctors.

According to the doctors responsible for his care, it will be impossible for him to walk in the near future. However, having recovered slightly, he was said to be transported to a pre-detention facility as the City Court decided there was a risk of Borchashvili fleeing if released.

Borchashvili’s family members and his lawyers said there was a minimal chance of him hiding as, Borchashvili had already tried to return to Georgia several times. However, according to them, Georgian law-enforcements did not let him enter Georgian territory.

His family members claimed that Borchashvili was in Turkey and worked there. However, video footage released on the Internet showed Borchashvili in the company of armed men abroad.

Borchashvili’s lawyer, Gela Nikoleishvili, stresses that Borchashvili was indeed in Syria, but was fighting for the Syrian Free Army against Syrian government forces.

Nikoleishvili added that the militia group was even supported by the west.

“Borchashvili says the video footage was filmed in 2013 in Syria. This predates IS' existence in Syria, as at that time the group operated only in Iraq, where Borchashvili has never been,” Nikoleishvili said.

The lawyer could not provide more details, as the case is confidential.

Meanwhile, another Borchashvili, with the name Aiup, was also detained weeks ago by Georgian law-enforcers. He is Davit Borchashvili’s relative from the same Muslim-populated eastern Pankisi Gorge, and is accused of recruiting local youth for IS.

Aiup Borchashvili denies the accusations.

There are no official figures on exactly how many Georgians left for Syria from Pankisi. However, according to locals, the figure is in the hundreds.

The Georgian parliament approved legislative amendments on June 12 this year, criminalizing the act of travelling abroad for the purpose of terrorism or involvement in any other type of illegal armed groups. The amended law also broadens the range of offences linked to participation in these armed groups, and criminalizes any calls for terrorist action or publicly supporting any terrorist groups.