At a minority hearing on December 20 at the Parliament of Georgia, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Gakharia answered questions on the killing of Akhmed Chatayev in Georgia, one of the masterminds behind the Istanbul airport attack in 2016, during a 22-hour special anti-terrorist operation in Tbilisi on November 22.
Chatayev had been arrested in Georgia in 2012 but was soon released after the Georgian Dream came to power. In the aftermath of the anti-terrorist operation, the Georgian Dream government received heavy criticism from the opposition for having released Chatayev.
Movement for Liberty - European Georgia MP Giga Bokeria spoke about the Chatayev case during the minority hearing today at Parliament.
Interior Minister Gakharia responded that “the most important part of the investigation for us is to find out how these people got here [in Georgia]. This is one of the indicators for the need for reforms in the border police,” he said. Gakharia said he could not comment on other matters in the investigation.
European Georgia MP Sergi Kapanadze asked Prime Minister Kvirikashvili during the hearing about who holds responsibility for the Chatayev case.
The prime minister said that “the investigation is still ongoing,” but that “when the investigation will end you will learn the results.”
“In 2012, when this case was reexamined we saw that under your leadership there was not enough material prepared to keep this person in detention, and that’s why the Prosecutor’s Office made this decision [to free Chatayev],” the prime minister added.
Chataev had a criminal record before he was arrested in Georgia in 2012. According to The Daily Mail, he was arrested in Sweden in 2008 for the illegal possession of arms and spent a year in prison. The news agency also reports that Chataev lost his arm during the Second Chechen war and that in 2003 he left Russia and went to Austria, where he soon received citizenship. After he got out of jail in Sweden, Chataev reportedly went to Ukraine, when he was again arrested in 2010.
Chataev was put on a list of international terrorists by the US in 2015, as information was spread that he was training ISIS fighters. Chataev was allegedly leading one of the subdivisions, the Iarmuk batallion, which consisted of North Caucasian and mainly Chechen soldiers.
Further details of the case and information about Ahmed Chatayev here.