afgan mukhtarli

President Margvelashvili: Mukhtarli’s Disappearance a Challenge to Our Statehood

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გიორგი მარგველაშვილი Photo: პრეზიდენტის ადმინისტრაცია

Georgia President Giorgi Margvelashvili commented on the kidnapping of Azerbaijani investigative reporter Afgan Mukhtarli from Georgia and detention in Baku.

"The disappearance of a person from the territory of Georgia by any means is a serious challenge to our sovereignty and statehood. In such cases the government is obliged to simultaneously protect both its prestige and safety of citizens,” President Margvelashvili told journalists today. "We should all realise that Georgia is a leader in the region concerning protection of the media and human rights. Keeping this standards is a direct matter for our statehood,” he said.

Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli went missing in Tbilisi where he resides in the evening of May 29th; he was taken by Azerbaijani security forces to Azerbaijan, where he is in detention.

Mukhtarli’s lawyer, Elchin Sadikov, said his client was bagged and driven for two hours. The car was changed twice; Mukhtarli says the people in the third car were speaking Azeri, his lawyer reports. When the kidnappers removed the bag from his head, they were at the border checkpoint with Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani authorities then accused Mukhtarli of illegally crossing the border and of smuggling 10 thousand euros, which Mukhtarli says they planted on him.

Afgan Mukhtar and his wife Leila Mustapayaeva were known critics of the Azerbaijani government and were investigating corrupt business schemes of President Ilham Aliyev's family.

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