Machalikashvili Predicts His Detention over Alleged Plotting of Terror Attack

Malkhaz Machalikashvili, father of 19-year-old Temirlan, who was killed during a special operation in Pankisi Gorge in 2017, thinks he will be soon arrested on charges of plotting a terror attack.

The man denies the accusation and claims that if he is arrested, his wife will continue the protest rallies launched in May 2018 seeing tents set up in front of the Parliament Building in Tbilisi to demand a “fair investigation” of their son’s murder.

“I demand the punishment of my son’s killer. This crime was committed by the State. They are doing their best to destroy me, but this will not happen,” Machalikashvili said, adding he has been using only legal ways to find justice.

“I have been standing in the center of Tbilisi for nine months. If I pose a threat to the country, if I am a terrorist, why have not they detained me so far? They call me a terrorist due to the remarks I made in an emotional moment two months ago,” he explained.

The State Security Service of Georgia (SSS) made a statement two days ago, saying their investigation had revealed Machalikashvili’s intent to murder several persons through organizing a terrorist act.

The agency noted that a nephew of Machalikashvili, Moris Machalikashvili may have been involved in the implementation of the mentioned terrorist act.

“The investigation into the case has been launched on the basis of Malkhaz Machalikashvili’s public statement containing a threat on May 31, 2018, according to which he and the persons accompanying him made a vow to penetrate the building of the SSS and blow themselves up,” the statement says.

The agency also released an audio recording of a phone conversation between Machalikashvili and his nephew. The SSS says evidence showed a terrorist act was planned in the Zemo Machkhaani village of the Dedophlistskaro region, at the grave of late father of Ioseb Gogashvili, former first deputy head of the State Security Service. The plot, if successful, would have injured or taken Gogashvili and others’ lives.

“It is confirmed that on March 23, 2019, Malkhaz Machalikashvili himself instructed Moris Machalikashvili to abandon any other activities and work only on one person: Ioseb Gogashvili. Moris Machalikashvili was to identify the residential addresses of Ioseb Gogashvili, his travel routes, and he was tasked to travel to the cemetery in order to establish the location of the grave of Gogashvili’s father and take pictures, on the basis of which, Malkhaz Machalikashvili would have planned other activities,” the SSS says.

Moris Machalikashvili has already been interrogated by the SSS regarding the case, while Malkhaz Machalikashvili refuses to show up for questioning. He says the recording is a fabrication and that he has not plotted anything.

Ioseb Gogashvili also released a statement regarding the investigation, saying Machalikashvili is a “potential terrorist.”

“The Prosecutor's Office should also pay attention to those people, politicians, NGO representatives, some pseudo-journalists, who were deliberately preparing Malkhaz Machalikashvili to commit the crime,” said Gogashvili.

He also noted that he is ready to cooperate with the investigation if needed, saying he was not leading the special operation in Pankisi Gorge in December 2017, when Temirlan Machalikashvili was shot.

“I would like to thank the SSS for preventing the crime during the preparation process ... Such actions are not unusual for Malkhaz Machalikashvili. He has ties with terrorist groups such as Chatayev’s group,” he said, referring to terrorist Ahmet Chatayev who was liquidated with his group by law enforcers in November 2017 in Tbilisi.

Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze also commented on the recent developments, saying the SSS had managed to prevent a “grave crime” and noting that “the rest is up to the investigation.”

“The evidence is being studied and it will be followed by proper legal steps,” he added.

Temirlan Machalikashvili was wounded in Duisi village in his own bed on December 26, 2017. On January 10, he died in hospital.

Georgian law-enforcers claim that Machalikashvili was shot when he tried to detonate a grenade. However, the family and relatives say that he was sleeping when law-enforcers shot him without warning.

The family also rejects the allegations that the deceased had links with Chatayev’s terrorist group.

By Thea Morrison

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09 May 2019 14:33