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Opposition asks the investigation Azeri journalist’s case

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, June 29
The Movement for Freedom-European Georgia opposition party demands the creation of a special parliamentary investigative commission in order to get involved in the high-profile case of Azerbaijani journalist, Afgan Mukhtarli, who was allegedly abducted from Tbilisi on May 29 and taken to Baku, Azerbaijan.

Sergi Kapanadze, another European Georgia member, says that the discussions over the case will be acute, as there are too many questions over the issue.

He alleged that the Georgian side participated in the transfer of Mukhtarli to the neighboring country.

“Parliament should be involved in this process because there is no confidence towards the law enforcement agencies. They were directly involved in this shameful act. It is very important that maximum transparency be ensured,” Kapanadze added.

He also mentioned the resolution of the European Parliament over the case released on June 16. In the resolution the MEPs called on the Azerbaijani government to release Mukhtarli without delay. They urged the government of Georgia to conduct a timely and transparent investigation.

Chairman of Human Rights Committee Sopio Kiladze says that it is too early to set up a parliamentary commission. She believes that first everyone should wait for the results of the investigation.

Kiladze added that the Interior Ministry of Georgia does its best to timely investigate the case.

“We must be very careful with this particular case. First of all, the interest of Mukhtarli should not be violated, and also we should not harm our mutual relations with Azerbaijan,” she stated.

Afgan Mukhtarli is a political migrant who left Azerbaijan three years ago. In Tbilisi, he has held protests in front of Azerbaijan’s embassy and recently wrote about the persecution of Azerbaijani activists in Georgia.

He disappeared on May 29 and the next day was found in a Baku police department. Mukhtarli told his lawyer that he was detained and forced into a car near his house in Tbilisi by Georgian Special Service officers. He said that he was beaten and 10,000 euros were planted on him.

The Azerbaijani authorities accused Mukhtarli of illegally crossing the border and smuggling, and the court sentenced him to three months of pre-trial detention.