Dear Prime Minister Kvirikashvili,
I am writing you on behalf of the Norwegian Writers in Prison Committee.
On the 25th of December 2015, poet, activist and winner of the 2009 Oxfam Novib/PEN Awards for Freedom of Expression, Irakli Kakabadze, was arrested and injured during a peaceful demonstration protesting the appointment of Judge Levan Murusidze to the Appeals Court of Georgia’s High Council of Justice in Georgia. The appointment of Murusidze has been criticised by human rights groups amid claims that in 2007, Murusidze, then a member of the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Georgia, reduced the sentences of four people convicted of murdering Sandro Girgvliani, the 28-year-old head of the international department of the United Georgian Bank.
Kakabadze was arrested outside the proceedings, during which he was beaten, suffering minor concussion, the loss of a tooth, and sustained an injury to his foot. Kakabadze is currently out on bail and appeared in court on 20 January 2016. His trial was postponed to January 22nd 2016. A formal investigation was launched into his allegations of ill-treatment.
The Norwegian Writers in Prison Committee believes that Kakabadze’s arrest and the legal proceedings against him are in connection to his peaceful exercise of his right to protest. We are:
- Calling for fair treatment and due process for Irakli Kakabadze and other activists;
- Calling for immediate investigation into his physical mistreatment during his arrest;
- Urging you to ensure that there is no future harassment of writers and activists for their peaceful exercise of their right to protest or freedom of expression.
Oslo, January 27nd 2016,