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Tbilisi Court Finds Terror Case Suspects Guilty

Tbilisi City Court has found on July 27 Shoaif Borziev, a member of the group of militants led by senior ISIS member Ahmed Chatayev, guilty of plotting terrorist acts in Georgia and has sentenced him to thirteen years in prison.

Borziev, a 24-year-old Russian citizen of Chechen origin, was captured during the security forces operation in Tbilisi in November 2017, which claimed the lives of one officer and three gunmen, including Chatayev.

Ruslan Shavadze, one more member of the Chatayev group, who was charged with membership of a foreign terrorist organization and with assisting terrorist activities, was sentenced to 13 years in absentia.

In a statement on July 27, the Prosecutor’s Office said the group leader and his accomplices, including Borziev, arrived in Georgia to conduct terrorist acts in retaliation to the arrest of Aiuf Borchashvili, a resident of Georgia’s Muslim-majority Pankisi gorge, who was detained in June 2015 on charges of recruiting fighters for the Islamic State group.

On July 27, the City Court has also announced the prison sentences for four citizens of Georgia, who were arrested for assisting the Chatayev group in Georgia. Ruslan Aldamov and Ramaz Margoshvili, who were detained in December 2017, were sentenced to ten and twelve years, respectively, while Anatoli Berdzenishvili and Zurab Idoidze, who were arrested in January 2018, were sentenced to eleven and ten years, respectively.

According to the authorities, Aldamov, Berdzenishvili and Idoidze facilitated the transportation of Akhmed Chatayev and his accomplices in Turkey and assisted them in “illegally crossing” the Georgia-Turkey border, while Margoshvili helped arrange their accommodation in Tbilisi and the transfer of ammunition from a weapons cache in Georgia’s eastern Kvareli Municipality.

Two other suspects – Zurab Gornakashvili and Badur Chophanashvili – were apprehended on identical charges, but the Court is holding separate proceedings on their cases, reportedly due to their decision to cooperate with the investigation.

The seventh detainee – 18-year-old Temirlan Machalikashvili – was shot dead during his arrest in December 2017. According to the State Security Service, 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.

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