Georgia’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Teimuraz Sharashenidze, says neither detained Azeri journalist Afghan Mukhtarli nor his representatives requested a meeting with him.
Georgia’s Ambassador says Mukhtarli did not request meeting
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, July 20
The statement came after Mukhtarli’s family and their lawyer said they wanted a meeting with the ambassador.
The Ambassador stressed there is no reason to address him.
“The lawyer is aware that when an Azerbaijani citizen is in an Azerbaijani prison and the investigation is in progress, no foreign diplomats are allowed to arrange a meeting,” he said.
Mukhtarli, an investigative Azeri journalist, disappeared from central Tbilisi on May 29 and appeared in Baku shortly afterwards.
Mukhtarli has already been sent to 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.
Georgia’s Prosecutor’s Office is also investigating how Mukhtarli vanished from Tbilisi and reappeared in Baku.
Georgia’s Interior Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili said there is no evidence proving Mukhtarli was kidnapped, or handed over to Azeri law enforcers by Georgian police.