Tbilisi Marks Anniversary of Mukhtarli's 'Exit'

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Wearing black T-shirts and hoods with slogans "#Afgan" and "No Investigations Means Cooperation", about 30 friends and human rights activists demonstrated in front of the former Parliament building on the first anniversary of the day Afgan Mukhtarli disappeared from the streets of Tbilisi.

The Azerbaijan journalist who had fled to Tbilisi disappeared last May 29, only to reappear in a Baku prison. He is serving a six-year sentence after being convicted of illegally crossing the border into Azerbaijan, illegally carrying 10,000 euro of undeclared currency, and assaulting a border guard.

Mukhtarli claims he was kidnapped and forced across the border. His appeal of that conviction was turned down in April.

Human Rights House Tbilisi organized the demonstration despite heavy day-long rain. The "No Investigations Means Cooperation" slogan refers to the Georgian government's inability to explain what happened to Mukhtarli.

On May 24, Georgia chief prosecutor Irakli Shotadze said his government is still waiting for answers to a written request that his office be allowed to come to Baku and interview Mukhtarli. According to Shotadze, his office has also asked Azerbaijan officials for court documents and the court ruling convicting Mukhtarli.

Shotadze says that despite interviewing hundreds of witnesses in Georgia and looking at hours of surveillance video, "no evidence has been obtained (to) inform the public of what happened."

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