On September 27, Tbilisi City Court Judge Nino Shcherbakovi ruled on the cases of human rights defenders and activists who were arrested on June 2 for holding banners and wearing T-shirts with the name of Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, with only one letter of his first name changed to evoke an association with male genitalia.
A group of protesters had rallied on June 2 in solidarity with Beka Grigoriadis, who was detained on the same site a day earlier as he was trying to set up a tent to protest against the detention of his son, Lazare Grigoriadis.
According to the judge’s decision, the case against Saba Brachveli (lawyer of the Open Society Foundation – Georgia), Eduard Marikashvili (Chairman of the Georgian Democracy Initiative), and activists Nika Romanadze and Grigol Prangishvili was closed under Article 173 of the Administrative Code for disobeying a police officer. They were found guilty of petty hooliganism and fined 500-500 GEL. As for the activist Nodar Sikharulidze, he was fined for 2000 GEL.
Before making her decision, Judge Nino Shcherbakovi questioned four policemen and five participants of the rally. The hearings also examined video evidence, none of which showed resistance to police or verbal abuse.
In addition, Saba Brachveli’s human rights defenders filed a request with the Prosecutor’s Office to open an investigation into his deliberate illegal arrest and the false testimony of police officer Davit Keshelashvili. Saba Brachveli and his lawyers claim that the order to arrest Brachveli was issued by the deputy head of the patrol police, Sergi Bzishvili, and that Keshelashvili was not present at the Parliament. They asked for Bzishvili to be questioned, but the judge did not agree. In the case of Eduard Marikashvili, the credibility of the witness’s testimony was also questioned.
- 16/06/2023 – Ombudsman Files Petition with Court Over June 2 Protesters
- 03/06/2023 – Police Detain Activists in Front of the Parliament Building