The family of 19-year-old Pankisi resident Temirlan Machalikashvili, who was shot in the head during an antiterrorism operation in Duisi and Omalo villages on 26 December, are requesting that be be transferred to a clinic in Berlin for treatment, and have accused the Georgian Health Ministry of hiding information about the clinic, Sova reports on 9 January.
According to Sova, Machalikashvili’s father, Malkhaz Machalikashvili, claims the family have received consent from a German hospital to treat Temirlan, and have accused the Health Ministry of hiding information that the clinic is ready to admit him.
Malkhaz believes this might be because of pressure put on the Health Ministry by the Interior Ministry and intelligence services or because of financial reasons, since the cost of the treatment is likely to cost 200,000 Euros plus another 50,000 Euros for transport.
Malkhaz Machalikashvili warned that he was prepared to go to extreme measures. At the same time he made it clear that in this situation the state was to blame, but not its citizens.
One million Chechens fought with a 146-million strong Russia. They fought, despite their small numbers. I don’t want to go against Georgia, against my brothers and sisters. Even if I lose 10 children, I don’t want that. But don’t force me. I’m not asking for anything, but as they ruined my son, let them send him to a Berlin clinic, let them make him speak or they can say something themselves. Or are they afraid that my son knows something and that’s why they condemned him to death?
The family’s lawyer, Tsira Javakhishvili, for her part, demanded that the Ministry of Health publish correspondence with foreign clinics. Earlier it was reported that German and Austrian doctors were not able to accept the patient. And the relatives of the victim themselves refused treatment in Turkish medical facilities.
Rustavi have a video report from 8 January that has a clip of Malkhaz’s comments.
What’s the link with Syria? Well, Georgia’s SGB have claimed that Temirlan and four others detained in the 26 December antiterrorism operation in Pankisi were connected with members of the group killed during the 21-22 November operation in Tbilisi, and further alleged that they helped transfer Akhmed Chatayev (who was also reported killed in the Tbilisi operation) cross into Turkey via Kirnati-Maradidi (see map at the foot of the post) and then helped him return to Georgia via the same route.
Support for Temirlan and his family has been growing on social media, especially among Pankisi residents, with a collection started to help pay for his treatment, and a hashtag #staywithtamerlan (yes, his name is spelled differently in the hashtag…), other supporters have been changing their profile photos to a photo of Temirlan.
Map showing location of Kirnati/ Maradidi, where the SGB allege Chatayev crossed from Georgia to Turkey and then somehow back again: