Georgia Civic Activist Attacked Following Accusations by Speaker: Amnesty International Demands Justice and End to Violence

Tbilisi, Georgia – A civic activist in Georgia was brutally attacked by unknown assailants just hours after being accused of involvement in a politically motivated campaign of terror by the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament. This incident has raised concerns over government officials potentially inciting violence against critics with impunity, according to Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Krivosheev expressed deep unease over the Georgian government’s portrayal of criticism as a violent anti-establishment scheme, emphasizing that dissent should be protected as a fundamental right. He called on Georgian authorities to halt the cycle of violence, thoroughly investigate all attacks, and ensure the perpetrators face fair trial proceedings.

On June 11th, Zuka Berdzenishvili, the civic activist, was assaulted near his home in Tbilisi by three unidentified individuals, sustaining head injuries. This assault followed a social media post by Speaker of the Parliament, Shalva Papuashvili, linking Berdzenishvili to an organized campaign of terror against the ruling party, Georgian Dream.

In recent weeks, opposition activists in Georgia have experienced a surge in attacks following the government’s approval of controversial legislation targeting “foreign influence”. This move has sparked mass protests and heightened reports of intimidation, arbitrary arrests, and violence against protesters and government critics. The incidents include suspicious activities near opposition leader Zurab Japaridze’s home, an assault on a student, and the arrest of an activist on questionable firearm possession charges.

Amnesty International emphasized the importance of upholding human rights obligations and ensuring a safe environment for critics to voice their opinions without fear of reprisal. The organization called for accountability for all acts of violence and urged the Georgian government to respect freedom of expression and assembly.

The escalating tensions in Georgia highlight the delicate balance between government authority and the protection of fundamental rights. As the country grapples with ongoing political turmoil, the need for impartial investigations, accountability, and respect for civil liberties remains paramount to uphold democracy and the rule of law.