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Protesters against Foreign Agents Law Fined

On May 20, and the court fined several activists GEL 500 (approximately USD 180) in connection with protests against the Foreign Agents Law for allegedly blocking a road during protests against the law. This is the maximum fine for the offense, according to Article 174 Prima of the Administrative Code. Those fined include Saba Skhvitaridze, Anri Gorgiladze of the opposition Droa party, activist Lazare Ordenidze, and Boris Chele Kurua of the opposition Girchi – More Freedom party.

Another citizen, Imeda Kldiashvili has been fined GEL 2200 (approximately USD 805) on May 21. He faced charges under the Articles 166, 173 of the Administrative Code of Georgia based on the testimonies of the police, Kldiashvili told Civil.ge. The latter article provides for fines of GEL 2000-GEL 3000 as punishment for non-compliance with a lawful order of the law enforcement. Protesters Zviad Dalakishvili was fined GEL 2300 (approximately USD 840) under the same article 173 of the Administrative Code of Georgia, lawyer Lasha Tkesheladze confirmed to Civil.ge. As for another protester Tornike Ketelauri, he was fined GEL 2200 (approximately USD 805).

Throughout the recent days, according to multiple testimonies and media reports, more than 50 protesters received official summonses to be interrogated by the Criminal Police over the wave of protests that swept the country after this controversial bill, now already adopted in 3rd hearing, was reintroduced in the beginning of April.

A significant portion of the hearings has been postponed.

Boris Chele Kurua, one of those fined on May 20, accused the ruling Georgian Dream party of using the administrative charges to suppress politicians and active citizens. “The Ministry of Internal Affairs is actively working to spy on people who participate in rallies and actively express their positions, but is not working to identify and arrest those who attacked us…,” he said.

Activist Lazare Ordenidze said that the only evidence the Interior Ministry has is the video showing the rally participants crossing the road:

“I personally don’t appear in the footage at all… The government is trying to fine us and scare us so that we don’t go to the rallies anymore,” he commented.

On May 22, two other citizens, Luka Ghviniashvili and a person who refused to give his name, were fined GEL 2300 (approximately USD 840) and GEL 4000 (approximately USD 1465). Both were fined under Articles 166, 173 of the Administrative Code of Georgia based on the testimony of the police, lawyer Eka Kobesashvli told Civil.ge.

Another citizen, Giorgi Dumbadze was fined with GEL 5000 (approximately USD 1800) under Article 174 Prima of the Administrative Code.

On May 28, the court fined ten more people GEL 500 (approximately USD 185) each.

On June 3, another citizen, Aleksandre Mishelashvili, a musician, was fined GEL 500 (about USD 185). The court found him guilty him of blocking the road during the May 2 rally. Eleven other citizens are awaiting the court’s decision on the same charges, and their cases are expected to be heard tomorrow.According to lawyers, the prosecution had no evidence, and the cases are politically motivated.

On June 4, the court fined another eight people GEL 500 (about USD 185) each, while seven others received verbal warnings, lawyer Lasha Tkesheladze told Civil.ge.

More to follow…

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