Marneuli Mayor Arrested on Charges of Inhumane Treatment

Temur Abazov, the mayor of Marnueli and a member of the Georgian Dream party, has been arrested on charges of abuse and inhumane treatment of one of his constituents, Elchim Alakhverdiev. Three other men have also been charged with abuse - United National Movement MP Azer Suleymanov, a Georgian Dream member of the Marneuli City Assembly, Ramin Alakhverdiev (no relation to the victim), and a relative of Abazov’s identified by the initials E.G.

In a press conference today, the Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office alleged that Elchim Alakhverdiev, a resident of Marneuli, attended the recent protests in Tbilisi on June 10. During the rally, he broadcast a live video on Facebook where he expressed his dislike of Mayor Abazov and insulted his wife. Later that evening, he received a phone call from Askerov asking to meet at the United National Movement office. When E. Alakhverdiev arrived, Suleimanov, R. Alakhverdiev, E.G., and several other unidentified persons were waiting. Suleimanov was angry about E. Alakhverdiev’s comments at the rally, and accused him of insulting Abazov’s wife at the instruction of someone else, whose name he demanded. “After that, Suleimanov, Ramin Alakhverdiev and E.G. physically abused him,” the Prosecutor’s Office reported.

Badly beaten, E. Alakhverdiev was then taken to a local restaurant by Jeikhun Choidarov, another member of the Marneuli City Assembly, where Abazov was waiting. “As soon as they arrived, Abazov spat at Alakhverdiev, forced him to turn on Facebook live and verbally abuse his own wife. Then Abazov forced the man to urinate in a glass and wash his face with it,” according to the Prosecutor’s Office.

If convicted, Abazov, faces 5-10 years in prison. R. Alakhverdiev and E.G. face two years in prison for physical abuse. While Suleymanov was also charged with physical abuse, as a member of Parliament, he is protected by immunity and has not been detained. The Prosecutor’s Office brushed off Suleymanov’s charges, saying it was not serious, and his role as an MP may not be affected. Chairman of the Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze (Georgian Dream), however, sent a letter to acting Chief Prosecutor Mamuka Vasadze encouraging him to fully investigate the charges regardless of party affiliation or political position. “It is necessary to punish each participant of the incident," said Kobakhidze.

Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze, a member of the ruling Georgian Dream party, said that everyone must be held accountable for their actions, regardless of which party they represent.

Marneuli is a small city located an hour south of Tbilisi. Its population is approximately 20,000, and is the largest majority Azerbaijani-Georgian city in the country. The Prosecutor’s Office continues to investigate the incident.


By Samantha Guthrie

Photo: YouTube, Temur Abazov

13 June 2018 19:15