Georgian LGBTI NGO Identoba files complaints about harassment and threats

May 31, 2013

A peaceful demonstration in Tbilisi, Georgia, on 17 May 2013, to celebrate International Day Against Homophobia was attacked by thousands of counter-protesters and human rights defenders were injured as you will have seen from the widely disseminated television images. The LGBTI rights rally had been scheduled to begin at 1pm on 17 May 2013, outside the former Parliament building on Rustaveli Avenue. However, an hour earlier, counter-protesters had occupied the space, bearing banners with slogans such as “Stop Homosexual Propaganda in Georgia”, and forcing the human rights defenders to move to nearby Freedom Square. Although police blocked the adjoining avenue to prevent the counter-protesters from relocating to the square, groups led by radical Orthodox priests broke the line of law enforcement officers and rushed towards the LGBTI demonstration. Police hurried to escort LGBTI rights defenders to several municipal buses and evacuated them from the scene. The counter-protesters, however, invaded Freedom Square and the nearby streets in the hope of finding LGBTI demonstrators. Any individuals believed to be affiliated with the LGBTI rights defenders were verbally and physically abused by radicals throughout Tbilisi. Twenty-eight people were injured as a result.Frontline NEWlogo-2 full version - cropped

Front Line reports that on 27 May the NGO Identoba working on gender equality and LGBTI rights, submitted a complaint to the Georgian Ombudsman and the Georgian Lawyers Association regarding the asssualt on their members and threats that members of the organisation have been receiving via Facebook.  The Office of the Ombudsman has forwarded the complaint to the Prosecutor’s Office for investigation. The media officer of Identoba received messages on Facebook with threats such as “You will be destroyed”. The sender of these messages had followed the human rights defenders after the demonstration and told them that Identoba had no future, and that it would be destroyed. On 16 May 2013, he had already visited their offices and told Anna Rekhviashvili that she and her colleagues would be treated the way they deserved the following day. Identoba member Rusudan Jijelava, was later threatened at gun-point, on 25 May 2013.

 

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