Court Imposes GEL 5000 Fines for Attacking the Tbilisi Pride Office in 2021

GDI would like to react to the verdict announced on 4 July by the Tbilisi City Court regarding the attack that took place on July 5th, 2021 against the office of "Tbilisi Pride." The organization believes that the court’s decision is a continuation of the state policy not to address hate crimes and punish the perpetrators adequately. The verdict announced has particularly alarmed us since the EU candidate status requirements ask Georgia to adequate punish human rights abusers who act with discriminatory motives.

On July 4th, 2022, Tbilisi City Court judge David Mgeliashvili announced his verdict against 3 individuals charged with attacking the office of Tbilisi Pride. According to the verdict each defendant was ordered to pay GEL 5000  (approximately USD 1700) penalty for violating Article 160.2A and 160.3A of the Criminal Code of Georgia (Unlawful entry into a property against the will of its owner… committed using violence… by more than one person). The court, however, failed to find the defendants guilty of discriminatory persecution and group violence. At this stage, it is unknown if the court identified homophobic motive in its deliberations.

The court has elected to impose the lightest and smallest possible penalty on those who took part in the July 5, 2021 mass-scale violence. It further proves that none of the branches of the Georgian government have the spirit to, on the one hand, fight discrimination-motivated violence and the ensuing atmosphere that such crimes go unpunished, and to contribute towards European integration on the other. Decisions like these render such integration perspectives even more unachievable.

GDI continues to provide legal aid to the Tbilisi Pride and the activists who suffered on July 5, 2021 and calls on the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia to appeal the decision, both in terms of its legal qualification and the penalties imposed.