We, representatives of civil society organizations declare our strong support for the human rights defenders detained at the Parliament of Georgia, who are boldly fighting against substantive restrictions on freedom of expression.
This night, the police arrested 7 participants of a peaceful gathering in the area adjoining the Parliament, completely arbitrarily, unlawfully, and in a manifestly aggressive manner.
Among the individuals arrested is the chairperson of the Democratic Initiative of Georgia – Eduard Marikashvili, the employee of the Open Society Georgia Foundation – Saba Brachveli, activist – Nika Romanadze, and others.
As far as we know, one of the detained persons is a minor.
It is alarming that such a negative trend can be observed in Georgian society that undermines the fundamental principles of democracy and, in fact, nullifies the basic right to freedom of expression.
With the arbitrary practice of administrative arrests, the ruling system seeks to subject the participants and organizers of peaceful gatherings to police control, which aims to weaken the self-organization of citizens, intimidate the public, and harass the activists.
We once again call on
- the Ministry of Internal Affairs to immediately release the detained individuals and bring to an end the practice of unlawful detentions;
- the Special Investigation Service to investigate the facts of illegal detention of peaceful activists and abuse of authority by law enforcement officers;
- the Public Defender of Georgia, as the entity supervising the protection of human rights in the territory of Georgia to act in accordance with the mechanisms falling within the scope of his mandate, including monitoring of the freedom of assembly and expression, as well as of the legal status of the detained individuals on the ground;
Georgian Bar Association to respond to cases of the breach of the right of lawyers.
17 organizations join this statement.