Journalist Mukhtarli granted victim status in Tbilisi abduction case 4 years on
Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, who was abducted in the center of Tbilisi in May 2017 and handed over to the Azerbaijani authorities, has been granted victim status in his suit against Georgian law enforcement agencies.
Mukhtarli is known for his harsh criticism of the Azerbaijani leadership and after being kidnapped he served almost three years in an Azerbaijani prison.
The charges in the case under investigation have also been changed; earlier the investigation was carried out under the article on unlawful deprivation of liberty, while now the article has been changed to imprisonment by a group of persons by prior conspiracy – article 143, part 3 of the Criminal Code of Georgia. The crime is punishable by imprisonment from seven-ten years.
Afgan Mukhtarli arrived in Georgia from Germany on April 7, 2021 to participate in the investigation of his own abduction.
Earlier, on October 9, 2020, the Azerbaijani journalist had already tried to get to Georgia from Germany. But the Georgian consulate denied him entry due to an alleged lack of necessary documents.
On April 9, Afgan Mukhtarli was interrogated at the prosecutor’s office. On April 15, Afgan Mukhtarli retraced his abduction with investigators from his place of abduction in Tbilisi through the road to Lagodekhi.
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Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli moved to Georgia in 2014 after being persecuted in his homeland.
However, on the afternoon of May 29, 2017, Mukhtarli was kidnapped right in the center of Tbilisi and brought to the border of Azerbaijan with a bag over his head.
The next day, May 30, he was sent to an Azerbaijani prison, sentenced to six years in prison on charges of illegal border crossing, smuggling and disobedience to the authorities.
Three years later, on March 17, 2020, Mukhtarli was suddenly released and sent on a special flight to Germany, where his family was waiting for him – his wife and child, who have been living there since 2019.
Four years have passed since the abduction of Mukhtarli, but his case was not investigated for a long time. The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia formally opened a case under the first part of Article 143 (illegal imprisonment).