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Wife Of Azerbaijani Journalist 'Abducted' In Georgia Asks Tbilisi To Do More


Leyla Mustafayeva attends a rally in Tbilisi in May.

TBILISI -- The wife of an Azerbaijani journalist who had sought refuge in Georgia but disappeared and reappeared in custody in Baku has urged Georgian authorities to do more to investigate his plight.

Leyla Mustafayeva told reporters in Tbilisi on September 19 that her husband, Afqan Muxtarli, was followed by the same people days before he disappearing on May 29.

A day later, Azerbaijani authorities said he was in custody in Baku on suspicion of illegally crossing the border and smuggling money.

Mustafayeva said that Georgian investigators and the prosecutor's office, who vowed to investigate her spouse's abduction, had not achieved any noticeable results, and called on Georgian officials to increase their efforts to find the people she believes abducted her husband.

Muxtarli's lawyer, Archil Chopikashvili, who was with Mustafayeva, told journalists that his client's "abduction" in Georgia and incarceration in Azerbaijan were politically motivated, as he was well-known for his writing about high-level government corruption in Azerbaijan.

International rights defenders and Western governments have called on Baku to release Muxtarli.

European lawmakers passed a resolution in June calling on Azerbaijani authorities to immediately release Muxtarli and drop all charges against him.

Muxtarli and his wife fled to Georgia in 2015, fearing for their safety over his investigations into Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's alleged links to corruption.

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