Georgian journalists attending the Human Rights Committee meeting in the Parliament of Georgia on June 6 put polyethylene bags on their heads in protest of the detention of Azeri journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, who disappeared from Tbilisi on May 29 and appeared in Baku the next day, the country which he fled in 2015 due to his investigations into high-ranking officials.
Georgian journalists protest Azeri counterpart’s arrest in Parliament
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, June 8
The Georgian journalists, who are demanding a fair investigation on how the man appeared in Baku, also held posters that read: ‘It will not end this way’ and ‘SOCAR-tvelo’.
The protest lasted for several minutes.
The same day, several journalists also met the United State Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly to speak about Mukhtarli’s case.
The journalists stated after the meeting that they are interested in how Mukhtarli crossed the Georgia-Azerbaijani border without using his passport.
They also said they asked Kelly that the international community’s “pressure on the government” was important to fairly investigate the case.
The journalists stated the Ambassador was “concerned” by the journalist’s case and highlighted the importance of safety of each Azerbaijani activists living in Georgia.
Mukhtarli has already been sent in three-month pretrial detention in Azerbaijan for smuggling money and illegally crossing the border.
Mukhtarli’s lawyers and family state the charges were invented and Mukhtarli was allegedly handed to Azerbaijan by Georgia’s law enforcers.
The journalist’s wife was offered Georgian citizenship by the country’s Prime Minister and the President, which she refused.
She said she and her husband had lived in Georgia since 2015, and until Mukhtarli’s detention Georgian authorities refused to grant her a residency permit despite her previous requests.
The government of Georgia denies any involvement in Mukhtarli’s detention.
It has been announced that Georgia’s security body will protect Mukhtarli’s family in Georgia.