Watchdog Assesses Machalikashvili Case Materials Containing State Secrets

The Human Rights and Monitoring Center (EMC), a local watchdog protecting the rights of the family of Temirlan Machalikashvili, who was shot dead during an anti-terror operation by special police forces in December 2017, said after familiarizing with the case materials that the investigation was “pro forma, inefficient and illusory.”

In a statement released on January 13, EMC noted that it gained access to the case materials, which have been classified by the Prosecutor’s Office by reason that they contained state secrets, on January 10 after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) launched consideration of the lawsuit filed on behalf of the Machalikashvili family.

EMC noted that the person who shot dead Machalikashvili as well as other riot police officers present on the ground were interrogated pro forma and no important and critical questions were asked to them.

The human rights organization also said that the case materials do not specify from which particular place Temirlan Machalikashvili picked up a hand-grenade, why he returned to bed and how he managed to detonate a hand-grenade lying in bed. EMC also claims that no questions were asked about what communication a riot police officer had with Machalikashvili before killing him; why he shot Machalikashvili in the head and why he did not try to neutralize his resistance by inflicting other harm.

The organization notes that the testimonies given by various officials of the State Security Service are controversial. In particular, police officers present in the room explained that fire was opened in 10 minutes after the launch of special operation, while other police officers claimed that it was done in several minutes – the version supported by the Machalikashvili family.

EMC said that the special operation was planned in Pankisi gorge without proper risk analysis and preventive measures; the State Security Service had no written plan of the special operation, as well as no clear instructions for police officers; the agency’s official version spread at the very first stage of investigation as if Machalikashvili tried to resist a police officer using a hand-grenade, proved unjustified and weak; the riot police officer did not observe the principle of proportionality when using force.

“As a whole, the ongoing investigation is pro forma, inefficient and illusory, showing an arbitrary intervention of the State Security Service that violated the fundamental principle of institutional independence of investigation,” the statement reads.

Speaking at a press conference today, Malkhaz Machalikashvili, Temirlan’s father, said that he was sure, the government “had no evidence” and was simply dragging out the case “to silence” him.

“These materials have shown that the present government is absolutely feeble… Strasbourg will investigate the case and establish the truth; but for me, it is important that an investigative commission is set up in the Parliament. I will fight for the truth to the end,” Machalikashvili said.

18-year-old Temirlan Machalikashvili was shot in the head in the process of his detention in December 2017. Machalikashvili died of his injuries in January 2018 in a Tbilisi hospital. According to the State Security Service of Georgia (SSG), he attempted to resist the security forces and tried to detonate a hand grenade, to which the SSG operatives responded with “proportional force.” Machalikashvili’s family denies this and claims he was asleep when officers entered his room and opened fire.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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