27 Jun 2017 - 00:00
Georgia has requested Azerbaijan to let Georgian investigators question Azerbaijani journalist, Afgan Mukhtarli, who vanished from Tbilisi on May 29 and resurfaced in custody in Baku the next day.
The Georgian side is investigating the case as an "unlawful imprisonment”. Georgian Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze said that Mukhtarli’s testimony will be important for the process, so Tbilisi has requested Baku to question the journalist in the presence of Georgian investigators.
Georgia has also requested the criminal case materials that the Azerbaijani side has regarding the Mukhtarli case.
"At this state, we are waiting for a reply from Azerbaijan”, Shotadze said.
Georgian Deputy Interior Minister Shalva Khutsishvili said that once Georgian investigators obtain Mukhtarli’s testimony and "the broader picture is clear”, Georgia will release interim results of the investigation. He added that the CCTV camera recordings that are attached to the case will also be released.
Georgian investigators say that more than 100 witnesses have been questioned surrounding the case as of today.
Exiled investigative journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, who was living in Tbilisi, was reported missing by his wife in the Georgian capital on the evening of May 29. The next morning local media reported that Mukhtarli had ended up in the custody of the Investigative Unit of the State Border Service of Azerbaijan in Baku.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution on the case and said that Georgia is a state party to the European Convention on Human Rights and it is therefore Georgia’s responsibility to guarantee the safety of Azerbaijanis living on its territory and to prevent any forced return to their home country.