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Killed Suspect’s Father Says Georgia ‘May Lose’ Pankisi

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, February 6
(PANKISI, Georgia)--Father of killed terrorism suspect Temirlan Machalikashvili says if the Government of Georgia fails to punish high-ranking security officials for poorly planned counter-terrorism raid in Pankisi Gorge, the country “may lose” the place.

The statement caused a large-scale stir in social networks, with many accusing Machalikashvili of making destructive statements against the state interests.

Later the Machalikashvili family provided additional explanations, saying that in “losing Pinkisi” Malkhaz Machalikashvili meant “losing of trust to the Government of Georgia by Pankisi People”.

Malkhaz Machalikashvili, father of 19-year-old Temirlan Machalikashvili who was wounded by a Georgian special unit serviceman on December 26, made the statement in the wake of his meeting with Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze.

Malkhaz Machalikashvili claimed that he could gain “no valuable” information from the meeting about the investigation over the raid, as well as “any evidence” that his son was cooperating with the Islamic State terrorist Ahmed Chatayev, the one who blew himself up in Tbilisi on November 22 , 2017.

Machalikashvili believes that his son was “mistakenly” shot and those who planned and carried out the raid must face tough punishment.

The man stated that his family will address the European Court of Human Rights to “wash down the label of terrorist” from Temirlan Machalikashvili.

Temirlan Machalikashvili died on January 10, 2018 from the severe head injury he received during the December raid.

The Pankisi raid came after the large-scale anti-terrorist operation in Tbilisi on November 21-22, which saw Chatayev and his two allies killed and one detained.

Georgia’s State Security Service claims Chatayev and his group planned attacks on diplomats in Turkey and Georgia.

The December raid in Georgia’s Muslim-populated Pankisi Gorge, aimed at detaining the people who supported Chatayev to come to Georgia, buy weapons and find an accommodation, security officials stated.

During the Pankisi raid Machalikashvili was wounded and four others were detained for alleged support for terrorism, envisaging 17-20 years in prison or life imprisonment.

Unofficial satirists write that about 25 youngsters from Pankisi have already been killed either in Syria or Iraq as the members of the terrorist Islamic State group.

The Government of Georgia says that they are doing their utmost to prevent the Pankisi youth to have any links to terrorist organizations.

Tarkhan Batirashvili, known by his nom de guerre- Abu Omar al-Shishani, was a Georgian Chechen jihadist who served as a commander for the Islamic State in Syria and was killed in 2016 as a result of the US airstrike.