Georgian PM: Questions on Azerbaijani journalist must be answered

In a special statement released last night, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said every question concerning an Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli need to be answered in the shortest period of time. Photo by the PM's press office, 04 Jun 2017 - 01:19, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said the situation concerning Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli "undermines the country’s image, which is absolutely impermissible”.

Freelance investigative journalist Afgan Mukhtarli was reported missing by his wife in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi on the evening of May 29. The next morning local media reported Mukhtarli had ended up in the custody of the Investigative Unit of the State Border Service of Azerbaijan.

As the Head of Government, my primary task is to make sure that every question is answered in the shortest period of time. An investigation has been launched into this incident, and it serves our state’s interests to ensure maximum transparency”, Kvirikashvili said.

He further explained that the Georgian law enforcement bodies are in constant communication with international organisations and the diplomatic corps and are ready to cooperate.

As a nation, we have walked a tough road and made great progress, and today we are a democratic, constitutional state aspiring to join European and Euro-Atlantic institutions, sharing their values, upholding the rule of law, and protecting human rights. We will in no way give up this achievement, and we will spare no effort to protect the rights of every individual regardless of their citizenship or political affiliation”, Kvirikashvili said.

In a statement released late last evening, Georgian Prime Minister said the Government of Georgia and the Ministry of Justice are ready to support the wife and children of freelance investigative journalist Afgan Mukhtarli in resolving all necessary legal procedures whenever they apply.

Journalist Afgan Mukhtarli was reported missing in Tbilisi on May 29 and was found in the custody in Baku on May 30. Photo source: Meydan TV

Kvirikashvili also asked Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili to consider this extraordinary situation and make an exception to grant Georgian citizenship to Mukhtarli’s wife and children.

Georgia’s Interior Ministry has launched an investigation into the alleged unlawful imprisonment of the Azerbaijani journalist who has been charged with illegally crossing the border and smuggling in Azerbaijan.