The Committee to Protect Journalists joined 22 international rights organizations in calling on Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili to ensure that the case of Afgan Mukhtarli, an Azerbaijani journalist living in exile in Tbilisi who is now in custody in the country’s capital, Baku, is fully investigated. CPJ documented last month how Mukhtarli was abducted by unidentified assailants on May 29 and taken across the border to his home country of Azerbaijan.
The letter, citing Elchin Sadygov, a lawyer who has visited the journalist in custody, says Mukhtarli’s body bears the signs of a heavy beating and that €10,000 ($11,200) was planted on him. A Baku court ordered Mukhtarli, who is seeking political asylum in Georgia, to be held in pre-trial detention for three months on charges of smuggling cash, crossing the border illegally, and violence against the police.
Mukhtarli’s case “sets a worrying precedent, threatening the security of dozens of other Azerbaijanis living in exile in Georgia,” the joint letter said. It calls on the prime minister to investigate Mukhtarli’s case, including whether any Georgian officials played a role in his abduction.
Read the letter to Kvirikashvili here.