Before this summer, if Leyla Mustafayeva walked into a coffee shop in Tbilisi, none of the patrons would recognize her. But that was before her husband, independent journalist Afghan Mukhtarli, was abducted in Tbilisi and taken back to his home country of Azerbaijan.
Since then, Mustafayeva has become a local celebrity of sorts for her outspoken criticism of Georgian and Azerbaijani authorities, whom she accuses of arranging the abduction.
During a recent meeting with a EurasiaNet.org reporter for coffee in a central Tbilisi cafe, some patrons approached her, asked her how her husband was doing, and told her to stay strong. “Please let us know if there’s anything we can do to help,” one said.
It is just one example of how widely her husband’s case has resonated in their adopted country. “Three months have gone by, and Afghan has not been forgotten here in Georgia,” she says.
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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance journalist and a frequent contributor to EurasiaNet.org's Tamada Tales blog.