Court in Tbilisi found Aiuf Borchashvili, a resident of Georgia’s Pankisi gorge, guilty of recruiting fighters for the Islamic State group and of being a member of a terrorist organization.
The Tbilisi City Court delivered the verdict on March 7 after a four-month-long trial and sentenced Borchashvili to 14 years in jail.
Three other men, all residents of Tbilisi, who the prosecution claimed were recruited by Borchashvili were co-defendants in the same trial facing charges of being members of a terrorist organization.
Two of them – Davit Pirisebia and Giorgi Khutunishvili – were found guilty and sentenced to 10 and 11 years in jail, respectively. The two were arrested in June 2015 at the Tbilisi international airport as they were intending to head to Syria via Turkey to join the IS group, according to the prosecution.
Defense lawyers criticized verdict against Pirisebia and Khutunishvili as unjustified and said that they would appeal it.
The third one – Giorgi Kuprava, who was also arrested in June 2015, was initially denying charges, but at a court hearing on February 22 he pleaded guilty and consequently agreed on a plea deal with the prosecution according to which he was sentenced to one-year imprisonment, plus five-year suspended sentence.
Borchashvili, who is from the village of Jokolo in the Pankisi gorge, was also found guilty of recruiting and sending to Syria two residents of the Pankisi gorge in April, 2015, who at the time were 16 and 18 years old.