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Afqan Muxtarli. AP

Afqan Muxtarli. AP

Another important aspect in the case of Afgan Mukhtarly

2017 July 05 ( Wednesday )  12:10:17
Print version
Русский Azərbaycan

Georgian political scientists told about incident with Azerbaijani journalist

The story of the kidnapping of Azerbaijani opposition journalist Afgan Mukhtarli in Georgia is sensitive enough for this country. From the point of view of the political results of this history, the attitude of public opinion of Georgia and international organizations to it is important, and in this case it fully supports the version of the kidnapping, Georgian political scientists believe.

In a conversation with Turan, the political scientist Gela Vasadze, the acting director of the Caucasus Institute for Strategic Studies, Teimuraz Tumanishvili, and the former deputy foreign minister of Georgia Nikoloz Vashakidze expressed their views on this issue.

Gela Vasadze:

- The case of Afgan Mukhtarly has one more important aspect, which remained beyond the framework of discussion in the media. It is a question of the absence on the part of official Baku and Tbilisi of an operative information reaction to this event. This is part of another problem - namely, the lack of a system of information interaction between our countries. It is impossible to say that Azerbaijan does not have the opportunity to create such a system. There are professionals of a very high level and relevant structures, but there is no system. Why? I think this question is not for me.

In a conversation with journalists, I already said: from the point of view of big politics, it does not matter whether Mukhtarli was abducted or not, in this case it is not important. The information result is important, and how public opinion is formed as a result of a concrete event. The fact that public opinion is formed in the vein that a journalist was kidnapped is a fact.

That is, all the Georgian television channels, news agencies and other mass media unequivocally state that the journalist was kidnapped. Experts and human rights activists can say in private conversation that we are dealing with a strange incident, but in an interview with the press, I doubt that they will be able to voice this position, because another point of view is obviously not perceived by society. Add to this the fact that the Mukhtarly case is used in the domestic political struggle, as well as international organizations, each of which has its own interests, and get the full picture.

We cannot know exactly what really happened. However, information inaction strongly affected the credibility of our country. With our authorities, everything is clear, they once again stood in the pose of the ostrich and added questions to this matter. Alas, we are already accustomed to inaction and ineffectiveness of our authorities, alas.

That is why I believe that such incidents require an information response, i.e. any country that cares about its prestige must do this, and if it does not, in my opinion, this is strange. And it's not just about Georgia, as it went far beyond the country. Almost all international institutions - the PACE, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the US State Department, etc. - were involved in this incident. For Georgia this is very sensitive, and I do not know how sensitive this is for Azerbaijan.

Teimuraz Tumanishvili:

- I'll tell you honestly, I do not know if Mukhtarli crossed the border illegally, or the kidnapping was organized. Whether the secret services of Azerbaijan and Georgia took part in this, or this is the work of some third forces, which then passed on to the public. I do not know too much about this case. But the fact remains that Georgian public opinion has already been formed in the vein that it is a kidnapping, a joint operation of Georgian and Azerbaijani special services. Public opinion of Georgia is unambiguously so today. The authorities simply do not trust and this is the problem of our power. Moreover, the Georgian public opinion, position on this issue of non-governmental organizations form the opinion of international organizations, including human rights organizations. I repeat, I do not know if there was a kidnapping, but public opinion believes that this is so.

In fact, the incident with Mukhtarly and the situation around this event look strange and theatrical. Now, non-professionals will exaggerate this situation, listing a number of special services that conducted such operations. And then, these operations were carried out, when professionals were extradited or disappeared, those people who also represented the structures of other states, for example, Nazi Germany, Israeli MOSAD, British MI6, KGB of the USSR, etc. Therefore, to say that a special operation was conducted, information about which leaked lightning fast, and, unprofessional - there are many more questions than answers. Because if the responsible structures work clumsily, then these structures either do not exist, or they were given a specific task. And if they were given another assignment, so that it quickly leaked, then it's quite another matter.

Nikoloz Vashakidze:

It seems that if a kidnapping was carried out on the territory of Georgia, this may indicate that Mukhtarly had the imprudence to create or hint at creating serious problems not only to Azerbaijani serious officials, but also to Georgian ones. The interests of the Georgian and Azerbaijani politicians in this respect could intersect, and this could lead to this result, but this is only my guess.

The journalist Afgan Mukhtarly was kidnapped on May 29 in Tbilisi and taken to Azerbaijan. He was charged under Article 315.2 (resistance to a representative of the authority with the use of force.) Then he was accused under two more Articles of the Criminal Code: 318.1 and 206.1 (illegal border crossing and smuggling). Official Baku claims that Mukhtarli was detained in Azerbaijan while crossing the border illegally and believes that it is wrong to politicize this issue. The court authorized his pretrial arrest for three months. Mukhtarli lived in Georgia for more than two years, fleeing persecution in Azerbaijan. In recent years, he actively participated in actions against the authorities of Azerbaijan, held in Tbilisi. The Mukhtarli case has been accepted by the European Court of Justice for investigation. -0-

Gela VasadzeTeymuraz TumanishviliNicoloz Vashkidze