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Georgian economist disappears in mysterious circumstances

21 December 2021
Ramaz Gerliani. Photo via Facebook.

An economist has gone missing in Georgia soon after writing a post on Facebook alleging he was being pressured and harassed by a police officer.

Tuesday marked three days since Ramaz Gerliani, the president of the Centre for Economic Transformation, disappeared.

On Tuesday, police said they had found a short message purportedly from Gerliani as well as his mobile phone in his office. According to InterPressNews, the letter said that he had ‘endured a lot’ and was ‘tired’.

Relatives started searching for Gerliani on Sunday after he stopped answering phone calls. 

Gerliani’s car was found on Monday with the doors unlocked near the Avchala police station. Inside were the car keys and his personal documents.

Several hours before his disappearance, Gerliani posted on Facebook accusing a police officer named Giorgi Gogniashvili of pressuring him, and speaking about being surveilled and stalked.

He said that Gogniashvili had broken into his house in a police uniform with the help of a former family member.

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‘On 14 November, a gunman met me in my flat with a brazenly false motive to interrogate me, insulting me… I am devastated’, the post said.

Gerliani attached photos to his post, one appearing to be Gogniashvili’s Facebook profile, and another which was apparently a photo of Gogniashvili. 

The post disappeared from his Facebook profile at around 16:00 on Monday, a day after his disappearance.  

The post also said that Gerliani had contacted the police about the break-in.

‘There is no information from the Inspector General about taking specific measures. The Investigative Department of the State Inspector’s Service […] has not launched an investigation’, he wrote.

The Interior Ministry neither confirmed nor denied that Giorgi Gogniashvili was an employee of the ministry.

The missing economist’s brother, Romanoz Gerliani, said on Monday that the police were informed of his brother’s disappearance Sunday evening. 

His family and friends have appealed for information from the public about Gerliani’s whereabouts.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs has launched an investigation into his disappearance under the criminal article for ‘illegal deprivation of liberty’.