DRI: The court's ruling on the June 2 case encourages police arbitrariness and grossly restricts freedom of expression

The Democracy Research Institute considers that the Tbilisi City Court judgment of September 27, by which the judge declared civil activists as lawbreakers due to the content of banners, represents a gross interference with freedom of expression, an attempt to legalize censorship of freedom of opinion, and completely denies the role of the court against the arbitrariness of law enforcement agencies.

On June 2, 2023, the police arrested civil activists and members of civil society organizations for holding blank white papers and banners (on which the nickname "Irayli" was written) at the rally. In recent years, this is the first case of the arrest of the head of a civil society organization (Eduard Marikashvili - Chairman of the Georgian Democracy Initiative) and representatives of civil society organizations at the rally, which should be considered alarming.

Publicly available sources make it clear that the behavior of the participants in the June 2 rally did not go beyond the scope established by law in any episode; As for the law enforcement officers, there was an obvious excess of authority and restriction of freedom of expression. Instead of ensuring a fair trial, the court legalized gross interference with freedom of expression.