Organizers of Violent Homophobia Rally Acquitted

On Friday, Tbilisi City Court acquitted four people for organizing a violent anti-gay rights demonstration on the 17th of May 2013.

The defendants, including clergy of the Georgian Orthodox Church, had urged protesters to disrupt a peaceful assembly to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Tens of thousands of people attacked a small assembly of gay rights activists, demanding to ‘punish the sinners.’ The rally lead to thirty injured, among other journalists.

Two years after, judge Davit Mgeliashvli ruled on the case. Irakli Basilaia, abbot at the Monastery in Mtskheta, Tital Davrishiani, Beka Salukvadze and Giorgi Basilashvili were all acquitted. The charge they were facing considered punishment with a fine or jail up to one year for interrupting the demonstration.

The court ruled as well there was unsatisfactory evidence to consider a case against a fifth defendant, priest Antimoz.

The evidence included videos shot by journalists, which showed priests and activists braking through the police cordon and running toward the gay rights supporters, shouting, and chasing after a bus evacuating about 30 organizers of the event.

The recording also shows Basilaia grabbing a street seller’s chair and running after the bus with it. Several cars, buses, and other property, were damaged during the rally.

24 October 2015 13:09