19-year-old Temirlan Machalikashvili, who was accused of supporting terrorists, died early today at a hospital in capital Tbilisi, after about two weeks of being in a coma.
Machalikashvili was wounded by law enforcers on December 26 during an anti-terrorist raid in the country’s Muslim-populated Pankisi Gorge.
From five suspects only Machalikashvili was wounded as he intended to use a hand grenade when the special unit servicemen rushed into his house, Georgia’s State Security Service says.
Doctors told the media that the young man suffered from a severe head injury and the government of Georgia planned to transport him to Turkey for better treatment in the coming hours.
The family of the deceased man dismisses any links with terrorists and claims Machalikashvili was mistakenly shot by a law enforcer, as the letter could not differentiate a mobile phone from a hand grenade.
Georgia’s State Security Service says they have evidence proving Machalikashvili’s connections with the Islamic State terrorist Ahmed Chatayev, who blew himself up in Tbilisi on November 22, during a counter-terrorism operation.
The Security Service released a video, depicting Machalikashvili with Chatayev’s allies in Tbilisi.
Georgia’s Public Defender Nino Lomjaria vowed she would take all measures to specify all details of the case.
Chronology of events
- A large-scale counter-terrorism operation took place in the outskirts of Tbilisi on November 21-22, which saw three suspects killed, Chatayev among them, one suspect detained, one special unit serviceman killed and four others wounded.
- On December 26 the Security Service conducted a raid in Pankisi, when four people were detained and Machalikashvili wounded. The State Security says the five supported the Chatayev’s group to come to Georgia from Turkey, find shelter and weapons.
- The Security Service detained one more man in Akhmeta region yesterday, a Georgian citizen Zurab Idoidze, and reported the man acted with the five to support Chatayev to arrive to Georgia and arrange terrorist attacks.
- The Security Service says Chatayev’s group planned terrorist attacks on diplomats in Georgia and Turkey.
- Investigation is carried out for financing, providing other material support and resources to terrorist activities which caused grave results. If confirmed the detainees will face 17 to 20 years or life imprisonment.