Georgia's General Inspection probes into alleged homophobic attack on LGBT activists involving police
The General Inspection of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) of Georgia has launched a probe into the alleged excessive use of force by the police against Levan Berianidze, the Equity Movement CEO, and Tornike Kusiani, a movement member – On.ge media outlet was told in the agency.
According to the Georgian MoI, the police responded to an incident that occurred in the vicinity of the Soho club, in Batumi boulevard, early on 25 August. Some unidentified individuals were reportedly verbally and physically insulting each other. Berianidze and Kusiani, who were at the incident scene, refused to obey police orders.
“Two citizens, who were particularly aggressive, failed to comply with police officers’ lawful order to keep the peace and observe public order and resisted the police,” the Georgian MoI reported. According to the MoI, that was the reason for arresting the aforesaid individuals. However, they continued to verbally abuse the police officers even after they’d been taken to the police department.
As the MoI reported, Kusiani and Berianidze were subjected to testing, which revealed that they were under the influence of alcohol.
According to the arrestees, they were first beaten on Batumi boulevard. Later on, they were verbally and physically abused in the police department. As Berianidze and Kusiani told their lawyer, the MoI officers witnessed the act of violence against them, but they stood by and didn’t react. The arrestees claim they were beaten on homophobic grounds.
“Both of them claim that when being escorted to the police department, they were subjected to homophobic verbal abuse in the police car. The police officers told them people like them shouldn’t exist.
“While in the police department, they were beaten and verbally abused by the police officers. They were forced to take off their clothes allegedly for bodily examination, which was rather humiliating for them,” Salome Ghoghoberidze, a lawyer, told the Netgazeti media outlet.
In her words, Berianidze and Kusiani have cuts on their bodies. Berianidze also suffered from a nosebleed. He has a bruise around his eye. There are bruises on his hands, and the skin on his knee is damaged. As for Tornike Kusiani, he has bruises around his eyes. He says he suffered rib and shoulder pains as a result of the beating.
Investigation into the case has been launched under Article 126 of the Criminal Code of Georgia (violence).