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All Six Charged with Support of Terrorism Found Guilty by Tbilisi Court

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, July 30
Six terrorism suspects detained during or after the 2017 large-scale anti-terrorist operations in Tbilisi and in the country’s Muslim-populated Pankisi Gorge were found guilty by Tbilisi City Court last Friday.

Ruslan Shavadze and Shoaip Borziev have been found guilty of membership in a terrorist organization, illegal carrying of firearms for terrorist aims and illegally crossing the border.

Both have been sentenced to 13 years in prison.

The remaining four have been charged with support of terrorist activities and providing terrorists with necessary material items.

The court found all four suspects guilty and sent Ruslan Aldamov and Anatoli Berdzenishvili to 11 years in prison, Ramaz Margoshvili to 12 years in prison and Zurab Idoidze to 10 years in prison.

The Georgian State Security Service conducted a large-scale counter-terrorism operation in Tbilisi in November last year, when the Islamic State terrorist Akhmed Chatayev blew himself up while his two associates were killed by special unit servicemen. One Georgian special unit serviceman was killed and four others were injured during the raid.

Only one of Chatayev’s allies, a Russian citizen, was detained alive.

In December 2017, the Security Service conducted another anti-terrorist operation in the country’s Muslim-populated Pankisi gorge, where one alleged suspect was shot and four others were detained.

Temirlan Machalikashvili died two weeks after he was shot during the raid. The Machalikashvili family claims that the 19-year-old man was mistakenly shot, having demanded tough punishment of top security officials “for making the fatal mistake.”

Shoaip Borziev was detained before the raids, while Idoidze and Berdzenishvili were detained several days after the Pankisi special operation.

The Georgian State Security Service says that the terrorists and their supporters planned attacks on Georgian and Turkish diplomats.

The head of the State Security Service press office Nino Giorgobiani said that during the operation, Machalikashvili tried to activate a hand grenade after which the police had to fire in his direction. Machalikashvili was wounded in the head.

Based on unofficial information, 26 people from Pankisi have been killed as the members of the terrorist Islamic State organization in Syria or Iraq.

The most recent death announcement was about a brother of one of the Islamic State leaders Abu Omar Al-Shishani, same as Tarkhan Batirashvili from Pankisi, who was killed in 2016 during the US air strikes.