DRI: Arresting participants in peaceful protests threatens democratic values

According to the publicly spread information, on June 2, in the vicinity of the Parliament of Georgia, several people were detained for making inscriptions on a poster, including lawyers, representatives of non-governmental organizations, civil activists - Shota Tutberidze, Eduard Marikashvili, Saba Brachveli, Lasha Janjghava, Levan Nishnianidze. Several of them are still detained and the whereabouts of some of them are still unknown.

The main reason for the protest was the Government's anti-Western policy. According to the information spread by the media, the rally was peaceful. The arrest of the participants in the rally due to the inscription on the poster goes beyond the applicable legislation and unjustifiably restricts the freedom of expression, while also contradicting the constitutional principles and international standards. Such an approach by the law enforcement officers is an action threatening democracy, which may turn into a vicious practice.

According to DRI's assessment, the behavior of the protestors did not go beyond the scope established by the law. Administrative detentions of persons by law enforcement officers as a radical measure of the restriction of the right, including recent developments, represent deliberate actions of the authorities against dissent.

DRI urges:

The Ministry of Internal Affairs

  • to remain within the law and protect freedom of assembly and expression.
  • to immediately release the persons detained at the June 2 rally.

The Special Investigation Service:

  • to immediately study and respond appropriately to the detentions of protesters in the vicinity of the Parliament of Georgia on June 2, 2023, and to check the legal basis and legality of the actions of law enforcement officers.