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 საერთო ცხელი ხაზი +995 577 07 05 63

WOMEN’S RIGHTS / Statement

The Social Justice Center will be involved in the case of the murder and forced marriage of 14-year-old Aitaj Shakhmirova

The Social Justice Center will protect the interests of Isa Shakhmirov, the successor of the victim and the father of the murdered girl, in the case of the brutal murder and forced marriage that occured on October 6, 2023, of 14-year-old Aitaj Shakhmirova.

On October 18, in accordance with the resolutions of the Kvemo Kartli District Prosecutor's Office and the Kakheti District Prosecutor's Office, Aitaj's father, Isa Shakhmirov, was recognized as the victim's successor and was granted access to review the criminal case materials.

After thoroughly examining the case materials, the Social Justice Center will share detailed information about the progress of the investigation with the public.

  • Significant factual circumstances identified by the investigation

On October 6, 2023, in the village of Lambalo, located in the Sagarejo Municipality, 27-year-old Alim Sadikov fatally shot 14-year-old Aitaj Shakhmirova. Aitaj had been in a forced marriage with the defendant since June 2023.

On the same day, October 6, 2023, the Kakheti Police Department initiated an investigation into the murder of Aitaj Shakhmirova, citing grounds of gender intolerance, illegal imprisonment, and illegal possession of firearms. Alim Sadikov, who had been was in hiding was found shortly after. Additionally, his uncle and cousin were arrested on charges of failing to report the crime.

Each detainee has been held in custody as a preventive measure.

According to the current investigation's findings, it has been determined that Aitaj Shakhmirova resided in the village of Useinkend, within the Dmanisi municipality, and was enrolled in the 9th grade at the public school in the town of Karabulakh.

In June 2023, 27-year-old Asim Sadikov kidnapped a 14-year-old girl, intending to marry her and unlawfully restrict her freedom. According to the investigation, Aitaj Shakhmirova and Asim Sadikov were engaged, but Sadikov kidnapped the girl before she reached adulthood with the intent of marriage. Specifically, in June 2023, he forcefully brought Aitaj to the residence of his uncle, Ahliman Aslanov. On that day, Aitaj managed to escape from Aslanov's house, but after a few hours, her family members retrieved her, allegedly coercing her into marrying Sadikov.

According to the criminal case file, on October 6, 2023, Sadikov once again transported Aitaj Shakhmirova to the residence of his uncle, Ahliman Aslanov, where he demanded that Aitaj reveal the circumstances of an incident from June 2023. Aitaj Shakhmirova complied and demonstrated how she escaped from the house. It was during this demonstration that Sadikov discharged multiple shots from a firearm, resulting in the immediate death of Aitaj Shakhmirova.

The case materials also indicate that Sadikov had acquired a firearm a few weeks before the murder and had unlawful possession of it. These circumstances strongly suggest premeditation in the actions of Ali Sadikov.

  • Circumstances requiring special investigation:

According to the investigation materials, there is a suspicion that Aitaj Shakhmirova may have been a victim of sexual crimes, which necessitates a thorough investigation in this direction to identify all relevant actions.

It is crucial to emphasize the responsibility of various state agencies, especially the school administration.

It is also imperative to scrutinize the role and responsibilities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in fulfilling preventive obligations in this case. Among other things, it is vital to investigate whether the local police were aware of or should have been aware of the engagement and what preventive measures were taken to combat forced marriage and other related crimes.

  • Policy Challenges to Combat Child Marriage:

The tragic story of the brutal murder of a 14-year-old girl underscores the ongoing inadequacies and inefficiencies in the state's response and policies regarding femicide, forced marriages, and violence against women. These issues are even more pronounced in regions densely populated by ethnic minorities, where the state fails to fulfill its obligations towards its citizens, leading to systematic social exclusion and inactivity.

In these regions, numerous social factors contribute to a weak and superficial approach by the police, hampering the establishment of trust on the ground. Furthermore, social care services and appropriate support, already insufficiently developed in policies addressing violence against women, struggle even more when working within ethnic minority communities.

Despite the state's efforts to tighten its policies against violence targeting women, the effective response to cases of forced marriage and the pursuit of equitable justice remain significant challenges. Investigations are often prematurely terminated, and plea agreements are reached with the accused individuals. Systematic preventive measures addressing these harmful social practices, which encompass the structural, social, economic, and cultural roots of forced marriage and other forms of gender-based violence, are fragmented and insufficient. The awareness of those responsible for referrals within the police, social protection, and education systems concerning the signs, procedures, and their obligations in identifying child marriages is critically low within the system."

  • Primary Requirements

Considering the above, the Social Justice Center urges the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia and the Prosecutor's Office to fulfill the following primary requirements:

  1. Conduct a thorough, comprehensive, and impartial investigation into the case of 14-year-old Aitaj Shakhmirova.
  2. Initiate an investigation into the alleged crimes connected to the murder, encompassing illegal imprisonment, sexual assault of a minor, and the failure to report the crime. It is imperative to identify all potential perpetrators involved in these incidents promptly.
  3. Identify the relevant state agencies that should have been aware of instances of violence against Aitaj Shakhmirova and undertake appropriate legal actions against them. A meticulous examination of the conduct of the educational institution and local law enforcement is essential.
  4. Evaluate the effectiveness of police operations in regions with significant ethnic minority populations, particularly in the realm of protecting children and women from violence. This evaluation should lead to fundamental reforms aimed at addressing:
  5. The structural underpinnings of child marriage and violence against girls and women.
  6. Enhancing the coordination and effectiveness of relevant police, social, and educational agencies in preventing violence and oppression against girls and women.

The Social Justice Center will provide a comprehensive assessment of the progress of the investigation. Given the considerable public interest in this case, we commit to periodically sharing information about the investigation's progress and any new developments.

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