As the trial of abducted Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli opened in Baku, protesters on May 31 gathered in Tbilisi to demand that the Georgian government explain how the reporter had managed to disappear from the Georgian capital and somehow wind up across the Azerbaijani border in a Baku jail.
“I am holding his passport right here. Can the Georgian authorities please explain how a man crossed an international border with no identification documents on him?” asked Mukhtarli’s wife, Leyla Mustafayeva, holding up the 43-year-old reporter’s passport at the rally of media and rights-activists outside of Georgia's main government building.
As yet, there is no explanation. But Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has stressed the need for one, calling the Mukhtarli case "a serious challenge for our statehood and sovereignty," and to Georgia's "state standards" for the defense of media and human rights.
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