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Demonstration at the Government’s Chancellery to express solidarity to Pankisi Gorge



On January 11, at 19:00, the demonstration was organized in front of the Government’s Chancellery in Tbilisi to declare solidarity with the people in Pankisi Gorge.

The organizers requested the State to ensure effective investigation into the case of Temirlan Machalikashvili, to stop use of the Pankisi Gorge for its political goals; the government shall ensure restriction of the uncontrolled authority of the State Security Service through enhancing the parliamentary and public control over it and to take political responsibility for the accident; also, the state shall create conditions for the honorable life of each citizen and fair political environment in the country.

On December 26, during the special operation in the Pankisi Gorge, the special unit officers deadly wounded 19-year old Temirlan Machalikashvili in his bedroom in Pankisi Gorge. The organizers of the demonstration said there are well-grounded doubts about the necessity and proportionality of the used lethal force. The legal and political responsibilities of the state are identified.

Visual footage from the site of accident, as well as the statements of the family members, raise doubts that the special unit officers shot Temirlan Machalikashvili in his bed without warning immediately after they rushed into the dark room. Another problem is delayed medical assistance for the wounded person.

Whilst Temirlan Machalikashvili did not have accused status either, by dissemination of the video footage, the state tried to claim his guiltiness and discredit him. Consequently, the State tries to cover its guiltiness and dehumanizes him by declaring the victim as a terrorist.

For years, the Pankisi Gorge has become the space of emergency situation and our compatriots from the Pankisi Gorge have lived in permanent fear, oppression and lack of future perspectives. The state, instead implementing systemic social reforms to mitigate the political and social isolation of the people living in the Gorge, uses repressive and punishment instruments against them.

Declaring the Pankisi Gorge as special emergency space, allows the state to carry out legitimate violence and establish control in the area and thus reinforce its power.  

With the special operation and control strategy the state only reinforces the isolation of the local population in the Pankisi Gorge and complicates achievement of social justice and stability.

It is important that the state took political responsibility for the ongoing developments in the country and created political and social conditions and opportunities for honorable life. Only repressions-based policy is counter-productive and it further increases mistrust and segregation” the statement of the organizers reads.

The demonstration was organized by: Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC), Human Rights Center, White Noise Movement, Auditoria # 115.

Temirlan Machalikashvili passed away in the morning of January 10 in the St. Michael Archangel Hospital. His body was taken to Pankisi late night and buried on January 11. 

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