Georgian President, Prime Minister and Parliament Chairman have commented on the death of Temirlan Machalikashvili, an 18-year old suspect in supporting terrorism-related activities, who suffered a head wound during his detention on December 26 and succumbed to the injury yesterday.
In his remarks before the government session on January 11, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said the authorities were sparing no effort to counter “the threat of terrorism,” and that it was “particularly sensitive and delicate” to fight terrorism “in your own country, especially when it involves your citizens.”
The Prime Minister also noted that it was “in the interests” of the government to conduct “objective and effective investigation,” but added that “premature statements or conclusions” over the ongoing investigation would “harm the country’s interests.”
Giorgi Kvirikashvili then expressed his condolences to the family of Temirlan Machalikashvili, saying it was “unfortunate” that his life could not be saved, despite the efforts of the authorities and the doctors. “Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, I extend my condolences to his family,” he said.
Ana Natsvlishvili, President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s parliamentary secretary, commented on the matter as well, saying the death of Machalikashvili was “a great tragedy for the whole country.” “The President and his administration are expecting that the ongoing investigation will be objective and that it will address the questions that have been raised in the society,” she noted.
Ana Natsvlishvili specified that the President had two questions over the incident. “One relates to the measures that the authorities undertook to avoid this tragic result … and the second concerns the efficiency of the government’s counter-terrorism activities.”
Parliament Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze spoke on the matter as well, saying in his brief press remarks that it was important to “wait for the information from the law enforcement agencies and make statements [only] after that.”
Temirlan Machalikashvili was one of the five citizens of Georgia who were apprehended in a double operation in Tbilisi and Pankisi gorge of Akhmeta District on December 26 on charges of assisting the group of terror suspects, who allegedly plotted attacks on diplomatic missions in Georgia and Turkey.
Machalikashvili was shot in the head during the operation. According to the State Security Service (SSS), he attempted to resist the security forces and tried to detonate a hand grenade, to which the SSS operatives responded with “proportional force.” Machalikashvili’s family members deny this and claim he was asleep when the officers entered his room and opened fire.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, investigation into Machalikashvili’s wounding was launched under article 333 (paragraph 3, subparagraph b) of the Criminal Code of Georgia involving “exceeding official powers through use of violence or firearm,” which is punishable by imprisonment for a term of five to eight years, with deprivation of the right to hold an official position or to carry out a particular activity for up to three years.