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Wounded Suspect’s Father Demands Victim Status for His Son

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, January 8
(TBILISI)—The Father of Temirlan Machalikashvili, who was wounded in an anti-terrorist raid on December 26 in Georgia’s Muslim-populated Pankisi gorge, demands the victim status for his son.

Malkhaz Machalikashvili says the law-enforcers “made a mistake.”

“I am completely sure that the serviceman believed my son held a hand grenade, while he just had a mobile phone,” Machalikashvili says.

He also told the media that his daughter heard how other servicemen verbally abused their colleague after he shot the 19-year-old.

However, the State Security Service says Machalikashvili and the four other suspects detained during the Pankisi raid were linked with Ahmed Chatayev, allegedly an Islamic State terrorist, who blew himself up in Tbilisi on November 22, during a counter-terrorism operation.

The Security Service released a video footage depicting Machalikashvili with the two alleged members of Chatayev’s group.

The State Security Service also reports they hold a bank document confirming that Machalikashvili was supporting terrorists.

The 19-year-old suspect is wounded in head, his condition remains critical until now and shall be transported abroad for treatment.

The raid in Pankisi came in the wake of a large-scale anti-terrorist operation in the outskirts of Tbilisi on November 21-22, which saw three suspects killed and one suspect detained. As a result of the operation, one serviceman was killed and four others were wounded.

The Security Service named Chatayev as the leader of the group that planned attacks on diplomats in Georgia and Turkey.