Georgia found itself in a rather difficult situation. A case of abduction on the 29th of may in Tbilisi to the Azerbaijani journalist Afghan mukhtarly was given international publicity.
Dedicated to exposing corruption schemes in the defense Ministry of Azerbaijan, the journalist moved to Georgia in 2015, due to severe repression of journalists and human rights defenders in Azerbaijan. The details of the abduction mukhtarly transmitted conflicting information. In particular, actively discussing the possibility of Georgian participation in the operation, the Georgian authorities categorically deny. The Prosecutor’s office of Georgia has launched an investigation in connection with the abduction of the journalist, however, whether this already or can help taken three months in custody in Azerbaijan of the journalist.
Despite the lack of detail and conflicting information about the abduction mukhtarly, this case is special in several senses. First, it suggests that the persecution of the Azerbaijani opposition and independent journalists moved to the regional level. A logical question arises — whether this is the first time such a theft? Maybe before people are interested in Baku, inexplicably was transferred to Azerbaijan from the territory of Georgia, however, this has not received publicity?
In addition, the operation was carried out on the territory of a third country. The Georgian authorities were in a rather difficult situation. On the one hand, if it is confirmed that the Georgian law enforcement agencies participated in the kidnapping mukhtarly and its transport to Azerbaijan, it will be a direct blow to the democratic image of Georgia. In this scenario it turns out that Tbilisi has supported the illegal arrest and transfer to the Azerbaijan opposition journalist who escaped from political persecution Aliyev, in the event that we all know what fate awaits the opposition in Azerbaijan. All this, of course, is a gross violation of human rights, and, if confirmed, will be a serious blow to the aspirations of Tbilisi to become the “island of democracy” in the region.
In the second case, if it is confirmed that the Georgian state authorities were not involved in the case mukhtarly, this, in turn, would be a blow to the sovereignty of Tbilisi. In this case, it turns out that the third country has carried out the operation on the territory of Georgia without permission or without the knowledge of the Georgian authorities. Can it become a tourist centre of the country in which the security services of the third country can kidnap citizens?
Of course, all this says nothing good about the Georgian law enforcement bodies and friendly Georgian-Azerbaijani relations.
Clearly, the case mukhtarly has already harmed the international reputation of Georgia, as evidenced by the statements and expressed by the international bodies and various countries of concern. However, the case of Azeri journalist while developing, and results initiated by the Prosecutor’s office of Georgia, investigations will be a new blow to the image and reputation of Georgia.