For Immediate Release
March 1, 2001
(Georgian in PDF format)
Mob attacks Jehovah’s Witness families in Republic of Georgia after Supreme Court ruling
TBILISI, GEORGIA—Five days after the Georgia Supreme Court revoked the registration of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the defrocked Orthodox priest Basil Mkalavishvili and his followers attacked a group of families of Jehovah’s Witnesses who were meeting in a private home for Bible study.
“The police assisted the mob,” stated Rudols Mikirtumov, who sustained injuries in the attack. “The mob forced their way into the private residence. A police officer showed his badge and then opened the gate for the extremists as they surged into the yard. Women, children and the elderly were forced to flee the attackers. The police shouted verbal abuses, after which the mob looted the residence.”
The attack comes on the heels of that Supreme Court decision, which has been criticized by many as a license to persecute religious minorities. It turned out just as Parliamentarian Koba Davitashvili had stated shortly after the court announced its ruling: “Mkalavishvili’s group and other extremists could perceive the ruling as a signal on the part of the State that their position is right, and we will once again see beatings on the street.”
Contact: J. R. Brown, telephone: (718) 560-5600