Georgian Interior Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili denied the involvement of Georgian law enforcement officers in the alleged abduction of Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, who went missing on May 29 from Tbilisi and appeared in a detention facility in Baku a day later.
“I strongly deny the participation of the Georgian Interior Ministry officers in the abduction,” Mgebrishvili said in his interview with Imedi TV on July 9.
“I do not think anyone believes in uniformed police officers abducting people in broad daylight from downtown Tbilisi and nobody noticing it… there is not even a single video recording showing the movement of people in uniforms,” the Interior Minister said in response to the accusations that Mukhtarli was abducted by several men wearing Georgian police uniforms.
He also said that the investigation is underway and that video footage from CCTV cameras have been retrieved. “These recordings have been handed over to Mukhtarli’s lawyer, but he did not like them, because no abduction was depicted there,” the Minister said.
“To be honest, we cannot stage abduction artificially,” Mgebrishvili added.
In the same interview, the Interior Minister also spoke about Birja Mafia rappers, who were arrested on June 9 on charges of illegal purchase and possession of excess amount of drugs, which they denied, saying that the drugs were planted by the police in response to their recent rap video mocking police.
The Interior Minister slammed the rap video as an attempt to insult the entire police system, saying that “the country, where policemen and soldiers are not respected, has no future.”
“Let me say with full responsibility that their arrest is not connected to their work,” he noted.
He also commented on public concerns over the reported practice of planting drugs and firearms, saying that individual violations may take place in the police, but “we will not cover up such facts.”
“Of course, there are individual problems, but these problems are not systemic. There are individual problems and we are gradually resolving them,” Mgebrishvili added.