The Chief Prosecutor’s Office will investigate the case of the alleged abduction of Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, who went missing on May 29 in Tbilisi and appeared in a detention facility in Baku a day later. The case files have already been transferred from the Interior Ministry.
“All necessary investigative and procedural actions will be carried out over the case; also, every person, who might have any connections to the case, will be interviewed,” the Chief Prosecutor’s Office said on July 20.
Summing up the interim investigation results at his special briefing on Thursday, Georgian Interior Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili said that Head of the Border Police and Director of the State Security Service’s Counterintelligence Department, who “are directly responsible for the state border control, on the one hand, and for counterintelligence activities, on the other,” will leave their posts pending the investigation.
“I believe that the departure of these officials is a very important step for avoiding any unreasonable interpretations around the case in the future,” Mgebrishvili noted.
The State Security Service also confirmed in its July 20 statement that the Director of Counterintelligence Department, Otar Kuprashvili, quit his post.
Minister Mgebrishvili also said at the briefing that in the course of the investigation video recordings from 46 CCTV cameras were retrieved and examined, including the recordings from the CCTV cameras installed near Afgan Mukhtarli’s house in Tbilisi.
The Minister added that 343 witnesses were interviewed, including 61 employees of the Border Police Department; 22 minibus drivers and 127 other persons, who might have seen the Azerbaijani journalist. However, none of them saw anything suspicious, the Minister said.
The investigation into Mukhtarli case is underway under Article 143 of the Criminal Code of Georgia involving unlawful imprisonment.