TBILISI, DFWatch–The court hearing for the two clerics who participated in the violent clashes on May 17 has been postponed until July 23.
The hearing was to have been on Monday, and apart from the two clerics the case also concerns several other persons who are charged for participating in the violence on May 17, when radical clerics and activists disrupted a peaceful demonstration against homophobia.
The reason for the postponement is that one of the charged, Titan Davrishiani, didn’t come to the hearing. According to his lawyer, Davrishiani is in detention in connection with another case and for technical reasons he was not taken to court.
Parishioners and other supporters had gathered at the court building on Monday. They organized a small rally in support of the clerics and the other accused.
Two clerics, Antimoz Bichinashvili and Iotam Basiala, were charged on May 23 for violating the right to assembly and illegally and violently interrupting it.
If convicted they may be fined or jailed up to two years. So far, only four persons have been charged. The government says the investigation is not finished and that the guilty will be punished. Almost 30 people, including journalists and policemen, were injured May 17.
There is video footage that shows an attack on a bus, which police was using to bring LGBT activists to a safer place. Footage also exists that shows clashes and clerics who are using various items, like a stool, to attack the bus.
After leaving court, Bichinashvili said that he doesn’t consider himself guilty and plans to appeal to the public defender as he thinks his rights have been violated because of all the accusations.