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Opposition Demands Parliamentary Investigation of Mukhtarli’s Case

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, February 21
(TBILISI)--The European Georgia opposition party has demanded the creation of the parliamentary commission to investigate the Azerbaijani investigative journalist Afghan Mukhtarli’s case, who disappeared from central Tbilisi on May 29, 2017 and reemerged in Baku in detention.

Elene Khoshtaria from the European Georgia believes that the investigation of the high-profile case is a “matter of dignity” for Georgia, and if the government fails to investigate the case, the parliament has to do this instead.

“Nine months have passed since the Georgian law enforcers launched the investigation to clear out how Mukhtarli appeared in Baku. However, nothing has been reported about the outcomes. A special parliamentary commission must be created to address the issue and we, lawmakers, must take the responsibility to answer the questions concerning the issue,” Khoshtaria said.

The opposition lawmaker said some majority MPs also supported creation of such a commission.

However, the majority leader Archil Talakvadze stated that “much has been done within the investigation” and it is better to wait for the official statement of the law enforcement agencies.

Mukhtarli has already been sentenced to six years in prison by the Balakan district court in Azerbaijan on January 12.

The court found him guilty of illegal crossing of border, smuggling in money and resisting the border guards.

Mukhtarli claims he was abducted from Tbilisi for his investigations about top figures of Azerbaijan, their businesses in Georgia and connections with the Georgian government.

In his most recent interview he stated that without the involvement of the Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili or former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, he would not have been abducted.

Georgian law enforcers are still investigating how Mukhtarlii appeared from Tbilisi in Baku, refusing any involvement in his “abduction.”

Mukhtarli, with his wife, and a young daughter had lived in Georgia since 2015, as he saw threats from the Azerbaijani leadership.

The Georgian government refused to grant them the residency permit they had been asking for.

After Mukhtarli’s disappearance and the stir over the issue, President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili offered Mustafayeva the Georgian citizenship, which she refused, saying the “support was belated.”

Now Mustafayeva lives in one of the European countries with her daughter.

Many of the influential foreign organizations, as well as the US government, have addressed Azerbaijani leadership to release Mukhtarli.