Parliament Drops Controversial Blasphemy Bill

TBILISI – Parliament will no longer discuss a controversial bills that aimed at imposing administrative fines on an “insult of religious feelings.”

The sponsor of the bill, Georgian Dream MP Soso Jachvliani withdrew his proposal that had been largely criticized by the public as well as civil society and the opposition parties.

Parliamentary speaker, David Usupashvili, said Monday that as the MP has withdrawn the draft the legislative body is ceasing consideration on this matter.

The bill angered society as well as human rights defenders, after the parliament’s human rights committee endorsed it earlier this month. Amnesty International declared the bill, if approved, would have undermined freedom of expression in Georgia.

In January 2015, the Georgian Orthodox Church called on the authorities to provide protection for believers against an “insult to religious feelings!" However, the Patriarchate denied being behind the recent bill proposal.

The Georgian Interior Ministry proposed a similar bill late in 2013, which was also dropped. 

17 February 2016 14:53