Temirlan Machalikashvili, an 18-year old suspect in supporting terrorism-related activities who had been wounded in the head during his detention on December 26, died of his injuries at 08:00 in a Tbilisi hospital.
According to Doctor Zaza Lursmanashvili, who treated Machalikashvili, his condition worsened at dawn, his heart stopping four times with reanimation efforts being unsuccessful. Machalikashvili was unconscious and at artificial ventilation at the time.
Temirlan Machalikashvili was shot in the head and hospitalized during the December 26 operation in Georgia’s north-eastern Pankisi gorge. According to the State Security Service (SSS), he attempted to resist the security forces and tried to detonate a hand grenade, to which the SSS operatives responded with “proportional force.” Machalikashvili’s family members deny this and claim he was asleep when the officers entered his room and opened fire.
Following a request from Machalikashvili’s family, the Ministry of Healthcare started negotiating with a number of foreign hospitals regarding the patient’s further treatment abroad. His transfer to a Turkish hospital was decided, though before that Machalikashvili’s family had voiced suspicion that the Security Service participated in the hospital selection process, which, according to the family members, endangered the patient’s life.
Machalikashvili’s family and lawyers also sought granting victim’s status to him, which would allow his lawyers to observe the ongoing investigation into the wounding incident. They also denied the allegations against him in the terror-related case and accused the State Security Service of violating the presumption of innocence when it released a video footage showing Temirlan Machalikashvili and three other men, two of whom were identified by the SSS as ISIS member Ahmed Chatayev’s accomplices.
Temirlan Machalikashvili was one of the five citizens of Georgia who were apprehended in a double operation in Tbilisi and Pankisi gorge of Akhmeta District on December 26 on charges of assisting the group of terror suspects, who allegedly plotted attacks on diplomatic missions in Georgia and Turkey. The State Security Service detained one more resident of Akhmeta District on identical charges on January 9.