MEP Addresses Georgian Gov’t over Two High-Profile Cases

European Parliament Member Rebecca Harms, who arrived in Tbilisi on an official visit, has addressed the Georgian government over two most high-profile cases – Turkish citizen Mustafa Emre Cabuk’s case and the case of Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli.

The MEP stated at the special press-conference that teaching in a school linked to Gülen is not a crime and called on the government to grant a political asylum to Cabuk.

“The Government of Georgia, the countries of the European Union, should categorically refuse to extradite Mustafa Emre Cabuk to Turkey. He and his family members must be granted a political asylum in Georgia or elsewhere,” said Rebecca Harms.

The European Parliamentarian visited Cabuk in prison on Sunday. She thanked the prison administration, as according to Mustafa Emre Cabuk, he is treated very well in the penitentiary institution. 

Mustafa Emre Cabuk was arrested in Georgia on May 24 with the charges of having links to the organization FETO, registered in the United States and associated with Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of orchestrating a military coup attempt in Turkey on 15 July, 2016. Tbilisi City Court ruled on May 25 that Cabuk would stay in three-month pre-extradition detention. Georgia’s Ministry of Refugees turned down the request of granting Cabuk and his family refugee status.

As for the Afgan Mukhtarli case, Rebecca Harms believes that Georgia should conduct an independent investigation on the case. During her visit to Tbilisi, she met with Afgan Mukhtarli’s wife Leila Mustafayeva and his lawyer.

“I think Mukhtarli and his wife should be granted the victim’s status. We should not stop fighting for the release of Afgan Mukhtarli. His situation in the Azerbaijani prison is much harder than the situation of Mustafa Emre Cabuk in Georgia. In this respect, I will appeal to the Azerbaijani government," she added.

Mukhtarli is a political migrant who left Azerbaijan three years ago. In Tbilisi, he held protests in front of Azerbaijan’s embassy and recently wrote about the persecution of Azerbaijani activists in Georgia. He disappeared on May 29, and the following day was found in the Baku police department.

Mukhtarli told his lawyer that he was detained and forced into a car near his house in Tbilisi by Georgian Special Service officers. He said that he was beaten and EUR 10,000 were planted on him. The Azerbaijani authorities accused him of illegal border crossing and smuggling.

The journalist’s wife and lawyer assure that Mukhtarli’s case is politically motivated and claim that he was transferred by Georgian law enforcers to the Azerbaijani side.

By Thea Morrison

16 July 2017 21:31