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Prosecutor Says Destruction of Hand Grenade of Machalikashvili case is ‘Nothing Serious’

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, March 23
Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze has stated that the destruction of the hand grenade which was one of the evidence in the case of the late terrorism suspect Temirlan Machalikashvili’s, “is nothing serious” as the hand grenade had already been studied by experts.

"All necessary legal and expert procedures have been carried out. Nothing special has happened in this case. The hand grenade was exploded to be confirmed it was functional. As for the examination conclusion and evidence, we will be able to speak about this after the investigation is completed,” Shotadze said.

Shotadze’s statement came more than two weeks after the lawyer of the Machalikashvili family Mariam Kublashvili stated that the hand grenade was destructed “very soon after the special operation”, conducted in December 2017.

The lawyer stated that the defence and the prosecution were in “unequal conditions” as key evidence of the case were either destructed or damaged.

Before the statement over the hand grenade Kublashvili said that the pistol, from which Machalikashvili was shot, “was repaired” after the incident.

The Machalikashvili family strongly believe that the 19-year-old Temirlan Machalikashvili was mistakenly shot during the counter-terrorism operation.

Malkhaz Machalikashvili, father of Temirlan Machalikashvili, says he aims to “remove the label of terrorist” from his son and will address the European Court of Human Rights.

Machalikashvili also announced rallies in capital Tbilisi. However, he postponed the rallies due to the death of Archil Tatunashvili in occupied Tskhinvali and stated that the demonstrations, with the demand a top officials of the State Security Service to be punished, would continue after the return of Tatunashvili’s body to the Tbilisi-administered territory.

Tatunashvili’s body has already been returned to his family.

Temirlan Machalikashvili died on January 10, 2018 from the severe head injury he received during the December 26 raid in Georgia’s Muslim-populated Pankisi Gorge.

The State Security Service reported that Machalikashvili tried to throw the hand grenade to the special unit servicemen when they rushed in the house. The Security Service claimed that was the reason the young man was shot.

The Pankisi raid came after the large-scale anti-terrorist operation in Tbilisi on November 21-22, which saw Islamic State terrorist Ahmed Chatayev and his two accomplices 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 Pankisi 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.