Georgian Government Accused of Fueling Violence Against Critics by Amnesty International Official

Tbilisi, Georgia – In a troubling turn of events, civic activist Zuka Berdzenishvili was viciously attacked by unknown assailants shortly after being accused in a social media post by the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament of partaking in a campaign of terror. Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Denis Krivosheev, expressed deep concern over the incident, highlighting a pattern of violence against government critics that seems to be condoned by government officials.

Krivosheev emphasized the need for Georgian authorities to cease the cycle of violence, investigate all attacks promptly, and ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable through fair judicial processes. The activist’s assault occurred following the Speaker’s public allegations of involvement in an anti-establishment plot, sparking fears of a crackdown on dissent and a violation of human rights.

The attack on Berdzenishvili is merely one of many incidents targeting opposition activists in Georgia amidst the controversial approval of legislation perceived as limiting freedom of association. Reports of intimidation, arbitrary arrests, and violence against protestors have escalated, prompting widespread concern for the state of democracy in the country.

Notable events preceding Berdzenishvili’s attack include suspicious individuals near opposition leader Zurab Japaridze’s residence, a violent assault on a student, and the arrest of an activist on questionable firearm possession charges. The mounting unrest underscores the challenges faced by those who dare to criticize the government, pointing to a broader issue of stifling dissent and eroding democratic principles.

Amidst mass protests and a climate of fear, it is essential for Georgian authorities to uphold their international human rights obligations and protect the right to free speech. The targeting of activists and opposition figures only serves to weaken the fabric of democracy and breed a culture of fear and censorship in the country. As the situation unfolds, it is imperative for all stakeholders to prioritize dialogue, respect for human rights, and the rule of law to prevent further escalation of violence and suppression.