Georgian journalists in support of Afgan Mukhtarli - meeting with US Ambassador and protest in Parliament
Georgian journalists have held a rally in support of Afgan Mukhtarli. At the session of the Committee of Human Rights, they put plastic bags over their heads and showed posters stating ‘you won’t get away with that’ and ‘freedom to Mukhtarli’.
In this way, they have responded to the disappearance of their Azeri colleague from Georgia. According to Mukhtali, the kidnappers delivered him to the Azerbaijani border with a plastic bag pulled over his head.
The journalists decided to attend the meeting after informing the head of the Committee, Sopho Kiladze, and the chairman of the Georgian Parliament, Irakli Kobakhidze, of their intention, but didn’t receive any response. After the rally Kiladze said that they couldn’t meet the journalists due to her absence from Georgia, adding that the investigation would require a few weeks.
In addition to the protest rally, Georgian journalists met with the current US ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly, with Afgan Mukhtarli’s case being the main item of the meeting. They journalists clarified the importance of their support in that case. Ian Kelly asserted that the diplomatic body is attentively following the case and supports the freedom of media and speech in Georgia.
Journalist Afgan Mukhtarli left Azerbaijan in 2014 due to various types of pressure he’d been experiencing from the Azerbaijani authorities. He filed several actions with the European Court for Human Rights, which are currently in the process of communication. He has recently been cooperating with international media organizations such as IWPR and Meydan.tv.
Mukhtarli disappeared from Tbilisi on 29 May 2017, later found to have been been detained by Azeri law enforcers. He claims to have been kidnapped by officers of Georgia’s Security Service. They pulled a plastic bag over his head and handed him over to Azeri law enforcement authorities.
The Azerbaijani Court sentenced Mukhtarli to a three-month pre-trial detention on charges of illegally crossing the border and smuggling. According to Mukhtarli, 10 000 Euros had been planted on his person at the border.