Georgia: Father of 19-year-old killed by special forces in Pankisi accused of planning terror attack
The father of a 19-year-old man killed in Pankisi Gorge during a counter-terrorism operation in 2017, Malkhaz Machalikashvili, has been accused by the Georgian State Security Service of planning a terror attack.
Machalikashvili is well-known in Georgia for his long-standing demand for justice for his son.
In December 2017, special forces units shot his 19-year-old son, Tamirlan, in his bedroom of his home in the Panikisi Gorge. Machalikashvili says his son was not involved in terrorist activity, and that special forces units mistook a cellphone in his son’s hand for a grenade, thus prompting the shooting.
The State Security Service says that Machalikashvili was trying to activate the alleged grenade when special forces units broke into his room, while his family says he was sleeping.
Since then, Malkhaz Machalikashvili has been demanding that those responsible for his son’s death be brought to justice.
On 7 May 2019, the State Security Service accused Machalikashvili of planning to kill the former deputy head of the body, Ioseb Gogashvili.
According to the department, “the terrorist act was planned to be carried out in the village of Zemo Machkhani of Dedoplistskaro district of Georgia, on the grave of Gogashvili’s father, after Gogashvili and his companions arrived there”.
As evidence, the state security service presented a wiretapping record.
In the recording, Malkhaz Machalikashvili speaks Chechen with his nephew Moris Machalikashvili and asks him to establish surveillance of Gogashvili’s movements and establish the exact location of his father’s grave.
What actions will be taken in relation to Malkhaz Machalikashvili has not yet been reported.