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European Parliament member supports victim status for Mukhtarli

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, July 18
European Parliament Member Rebecca Harms, who participated in a conference in Batumi, believes Georgia should conduct an independent investigation into the case of Azeri journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, who disappeared from Tbilisi about a month ago, and grant the status of a victim to him.

Harms met with Afgan Mukhtarli’s wife Leila Mustafayeva and his lawyer.

"We have discussed this issue in the European Parliament. I think Afgan Mukhtarli and his wife should be granted victim status in Georgia. We should not stop fighting for the release of Afgan Mukhtarli,” the MEP stated.

She stressed the situation in Azerbaijani prisons is much harder than the situation of Mustafa Emre Çabuk in Georgia, a Turkish national who is now in pre-extradition detention for alleged terrorist links.

Harms noted that one of the purposes of her visit to Georgia is to discuss the case of Çabuk.

“At this stage, his family’s request for an asylum has been denied by the Government of Georgia," says Rebecca Harms.

Mukhtarli disappeared from Tbilisi on May 29 and appeared in Baku the next day, a country which he fled in 2015 due to his investigations into high-ranking officials' affair.

Now he is in pre-trial detention in Azerbaijan for allegedly illegally crossing the Georgian-Azeri border and smuggling.

The Georgian opposition is accusing the government of Georgia for handing the man over to Azerbaijan, which is strongly dismissed by the authorities.

Earlier on June 15 at the Plenary of the European Parliament in Strasbourg Harms said that the resolution of European Parliament is not only “the immediate release of Afgan Mukhtarli, but also for dozens of other journalists and human rights activists who have been unjustly imprisoned.”