The family of Temirlan Machalikashvili, a 19-year-old resident of Georgia’s north-eastern Pankisi gorge, who was shot dead during the State Security Service operation exactly a year ago, has called for setting up a parliamentary commission to probe into the murder.
Machalikashvili’s parents voiced the demands at a press briefing on December 26 at the Human Rights Education Center, a Tbilisi-based rights watchdog defending the interests of Machalikashvili family. They also convened a silent protest in front of the Parliament building.
“I call for establishing a parliamentary commission to probe into the case,” said Malkhaz Machalikashvili, the father of Temirlan Machalikashvili, urging “all political forces” to rally behind his demands.
“A year has passed [since the murder]; formally, the Prosecutor’s Office launched investigation, but for all this period of time we have seen that the investigation is ineffective,” said EMC’s Natia Mikeladze.
Mikeladze noted that there were “fundamental mistakes” made by the State Security Service in the initial stage of the investigation, “that had dashed our hopes that the investigation would yield results.”
“It was the State Security Service employees, who collected primary evidence from the crime scene and we have doubts that part of these materials were either falsified or destroyed, which has made the participation of the Prosecutor’s Office pointless,” she added.
Mariam Kublashvili, lawyer of the Machalikashvili family, stressed that the parliamentary commission would give them full access to case materials and make the process more “open and transparent.”
Temirlan Machalikashvili was one of the five citizens of Georgia who were implicated in a double operation in Tbilisi and Pankisi gorge on December 26 on charges of assisting the group of terror suspects, who allegedly plotted terrorist acts in Georgia.
Machalikashvili was shot in the head during the operation and succumbed to his injuries two weeks later. The State Security Service said 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 State Security Service officers entered his room and opened fire. They also deny the accusations that Temirlan Machalikashvili assisted the group of terror suspects.
Malkhaz Machalikashvili, the father of Temirlan Machalikashvili, has been demanding justice over his son’s death in a sit-in protest in front of the Parliament building in Tbilisi. He calls for the arrest of the security officer who shot his son, as well as the Head of the State Security Service, Vakhtang Gomelauri, and his former deputy, Ioseb Gogashvili.