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Azerbaijani Journalist Claims Georgian PM Was Involved in His ‘Abduction’

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, February 12
(BAKU)--Azerbaijani investigative journalist Afghan Mukhtarli, who disappeared from Tbilisi on May 29, 2017, and re-emerged in Baku in detention, claims that Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, or even former Prime Minister, billionaire and the founder of the Georgian Dream ruling party Bidzina Ivanishvili was involved in his abduction.

Mukhtarli told the Georgian media Netgazeti that otherwise he would not have been abducted from Tbilisi and “all the cameras” on the road would not have been turned off.

The Azeri investigative journalist, who had been living in Tbilisi between 2015 and 2017, says that he was investigating Ilham Aliyev’s and his family’s business interests in Georgia and the Azerbaijani officials' business contacts with the Georgia state officials.

Mukhtarli says that four Georgian law enforcers abducted him and were violating traffic rules while riding.

“However, the police did not stop the car,” Mukhtarli says.

The Azeri journalist, who has been sentenced to six years in prison in Azerbaijan, thanked Georgian people for their support.

Mukhtarli’s lawyer had stated that the journalist was abducted on May 29 near his house in Tbilisi and was taken to the Azerbaijani border with a large amount of foreign currency stuffed in his pocket.

On May 30, Mukhtarli was charged in Baku for crossing the state border illegally, smuggling and fighting against representatives of the government.

International organizations and the US government have already called on Azerbaijan to release Mukhtarli.

The Georgian opposition and NGOs share the view that the Georgia government was involved in the abduction of the journalist who lived in Georgia as he was disliked by Azerbaijani officials.

The NGOs have addressed the country’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office to reveal the findings of the investigation on how Mukhtarli appeared in Baku from Tbilisi.

The Georgian government strongly denies any links with the Mukhtarli’s case and appeals to the NGOs and the opposition to wait for the conclusion of the investigation.

The government members have called “absurd” and “not serious” to the Mukhtarli’s statement over Kvrikashvili’s alleged involvement in his abduction.