Afgan Mukhtarli�s Wife Intends to Stay in Georgia

Leyla Mustafayeva, the wife of the Azerbaijani opposition journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, changed her decision to leave Georgia. According to the Caucasian Knot (Kavkazskiy Uzel), she said this at a press conference in Tbilisi on June 3.

On May 29, the Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli disappeared in Tbilisi. On May 30, Mukhtarli called Nemat Kerimli, a lawyer, and said that he was taken to Baku. According to the lawyer Elchin Sadigov, his client said that on May 29, unidentified persons in uniform, similar to the clothes of officers of the criminal police of Georgia, seized him in Tbilisi by force. He was put in a car and taken to the Azerbaijani border. On May 31, an accusation of resistance to a border guard was added to the charge of violating the state border and smuggling. On the same day, the court in Baku ruled to arrest the journalist.

After the abduction of the Azerbaijani opposition journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, his family considered continuing to be insecure in Georgia. The journalist's wife told the media that the family intends to leave Georgia.

"Now I have decided to stay in Tbilisi, because I have to monitor the progress of the investigation, which is being carried out on the fact of my husband's abduction," Mustafayeva said at a press conference at the NGO Human Rights House.

According to Mustafayeva, neither she nor her husband received political asylum in Georgia. "We were not even given a residence permit, and we were refused with the wording that we are engaged in too dangerous activities, which is not in the interests of Georgia," she said.

At the same time, Mustafayeva noted that she does not consider herself to be safe. "Friends in Azerbaijan say that there are rumors that I, too, could be brought to Azerbaijan, but I do not presume to say how much this gossip has to do with reality," she said.

Mustafayeva relates the abduction of her husband to his professional activities as a journalist.

"We continued to collect materials on corruption and human rights violations in Azerbaijan and published this information in Georgia," she noted. "Any material could have caused my husband's abduction".

A criminal case was opened in connection with the abduction of Mukhtarli in Georgia. "The prosecutor's office opened a criminal case under Article 143, which provides for an accusation of unlawful deprivation of liberty," Archil Chopikashvili, an advocate from the Human Rights House, representing the Mukhtarli family in Georgia, told the Caucasian Knot.

On May 31, protesters in Tbilisi demanded explanations from the Georgian authorities regarding the abduction of Afgan Mukhtarli. Amnesty International has accused the Georgian authorities of involvement in the abduction. Prime Minister Georgy Kvirikashvili assured that Georgian state structures are not involved in the abduction. --0--

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