Azerbaijani journalist sues Georgian authorities over alleged kidnapping
Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, who was kidnapped in Georgia and forcefully deported to Azerbaijan in 2017 where he was then imprisoned, has filed a lawsuit against the Georgian authorities in the European Court of Human Rights.
Currently, Mukhtarli lives in Germany.
In a Facebook post, where he announced the launching of the lawsuit, he explained that the secret services of Georgia were involved in his abduction in 2017.
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Mukhtarli went on to say that the Georgian authorities did not allow him to visit Georgia and carry out an independent investigation of his abduction. Mukhtarli added that this on its own proves that the government of the ruling Georgian Dream party was involved in his kidnapping.
“I have been out of prison for almost a year, and all this time the Georgian authorities have denied me entry to Georgia. Some time ago, the speaker of the [Georgian] parliament, Archil Talakvadze, told reporters that my arrival in Georgia during the pre-election period would cause political controversy. But this is just absurd”, Mukhtarli said.
The Azerbaijani journalist was going to arrive in Georgia on October 9, 2020. The official statement of the Georgian authorities that he later received explained that Mukhtarli was denied the right to cross the Georgian border due to a lack of documents that he should have presented.
Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli moved to Georgia in 2014 after being persecuted in his homeland; the journalist was known for his harsh criticism of the Azerbaijani authorities.
However, on the afternoon of May 29, 2017, Mukhtarli was kidnapped right in the center of Tbilisi and was brought to the Azerbaijani border with a bag over his head.
The next day, on May 30, Mukhtarli was sentenced to six years in an Azerbaijani prison on charges of illegal border crossing and smuggling.
Three years later, on March 17, 2020, Mukhtarli was released and sent on a special flight to Germany, where his family – wife and their child – had been waiting for him since 2019.
Four years have passed since the abduction of Mukhtarli, but his case has not yet been investigated in Georgia.
The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia formally launched a case under the first part of Article 143 (unlawful imprisonment), but the investigation never progressed.