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Saralidze-Machalikashvili Fail to Leave for Strasbourg

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, August 6
Zaza Saralidze and Malkhaz Machalikashvili, fathers of two young men killed in Georgia last year, failed to leave for Strasbourg this weekend along with the editor of Kronika+newspaper Eliso Kiladze.

The group was going to hold meetings in Strasbourg with the European lawyers and human rights defenders about the cases of their sons.

As Kiladze stated in her interview with Rustavi 2 TV, the three persons were going to arrive in Strasbourg via Munich, but the organizer of their visit informed her that one of their delegation members was suspected in terrorism.

According to her, the visit organizer Paata Abzhandadze was questioned by the Munich police specifically about Machalikashvili.

“Our visit organizer was asked what links he has with Islam or if he knows that his group members are terrorism suspects,” Rustavi 2 quotes Kiladze.

Malkhaz Machalikashvili stated he did not leave because he might have been arrested in Munich airport.

“I would get arrested, and the rumors would be spread all over Europe that I am a terrorist suspect…If I am, why do not they arrest me in Georgia?” he told Rustavi 2 TV.

Zaza Saralidze thinks their visit was deliberately prevented by Georgian law enforcers in order not to let them spread the doubts around the two high-profile cases in Europe.

‘They are afraid that these two, unopened cases will go beyond the borders of Georgia. They do not want us to speak the truth,” he said.

Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has not made any comments about the allegations of Machalikashvili and Saralidze yet.

Zaza Saralidze and Malkhaz Machalikashvili have been asking for “fair investigation” into the cases of their sons’ murder for months. They organized large-scale protests many times, asking for the “real answers” from the investigative bodies.

Temirlan Machalikashvili, 19, received a head wound during a special operation in the Pankisi Gorge on 26 December 2017. Georgian law-enforcers claim that Machalikashvili was shot while trying to detonate a grenade. However, the family and relatives say that he was sleeping when law-enforcers shot him without warning.

The father of the deceased young man has several demands. He wants law enforcers to confess that his son was killed by mistake. He also demands his family be granted the status of the victim, adding his son was the victim of someone’s mistake. He calls on the government to hold everyone involved in the operation responsible, adding the authorities are trying to accuse his son of having links with terrorists.

As for Zaza Saralidze, his 16-year old son, David, was killed in a street brawl on December 1, 2017. On May 31, Tbilisi City Court charged two minors – one for the premeditated murder of Dadunashvili, the second teen killed in the brawl and charged another minor for the attempted murder of Saralidze; however, the court could not say who killed Saralidze, which sparked mass protests in the capital.

Zaza Saralidze says he will not stop until all the people involved in his son’s murder are held responsible.