EU Parliament Representative Investigating Mukhtarli Case in Tbilisi

To study the details of the kidnapping of Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, Vice-President of the ALDE faction (European Liberal and Democrat Union) Henrik Mortensen has arrived in Tbilisi.

He met with representatives of Georgian parties – “Free Democrats”, and later with the “Republicans”.

Chairman of the opposition Musavat party Arif Hajili will meet with ALDE Vice-President.

Azerbaijani law enforcers a few days ago questioned Arif Hajili on the Mukhtarli case.

It should be noted that the Musavat party is a member of ALDE.

In turn, the Public Defender (Ombudsman) of Georgia Ucha Nanuashvili believes that the case of the kidnapping of journalist Afgan Mukhtarly should be investigated by the prosecutor’s office, not by the Interior Ministry.

According to the ombudsman, there are many issues in the case, and he called the fact that the case is being investigated by the Interior Ministry a “serious problem”.

“There are shortcomings in the case of the Azerbaijani journalist and, based on this, the case should be investigated by another structure. As there were allegations that the employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs participated in this case, it is necessary that investigative actions be carried out by a more independent agency, in this case the prosecutor’s office”, the ombudsman said.

He also stressed that the People’s Advocate’s Office was closely following the investigation of the case.

According to official information of law enforcers, Afghan Mukhtarli was detained by officers of the State Border Service on May 29 at 22:40 in the territory of the Balaken District after illegally crossing the Azerbaijani border. During the detention A. Mukhtarly resisted the staff of the State Border Service. A. Mukhtarly was detained, during the search he was found holding a large sum of money exceeding the allowed 10,000 euros.

On May 30, charges were brought against Afgan Mukhtarli under articles 318.1 (illegal crossing of the state border), 206.1 (smuggling) and 315.2 (resistance to a representative of the government using violence dangerous to life and health) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. By a court decision, a preventive measure was imposed on him in the form of arrest for a period of 3 months.

A. Mukhtarli refutes the charges. His lawyer Elchin Sadigov states that A. Mukhtarly was kidnapped from Georgia and tortured.

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