From the Georgian International Media Center:
Video discredits police claim Kakabadze resisted arrest in George Bush Street protest
Mon, 16/08/2010 – 13:12
Video, shown here, of the protest by leading Georgian poet and political activist Irakli Kakabadze and Shota Gagarin and Alexi Chigviladze against the naming of one of Tbilisi’s leading streets after former US President George W Bush appears to discredit the police claim that the three resisted arrest.
In fact all three are shown co-operating with the police in their arrest, with Kakabadze waving to the camera as he is driven off.
The incident recalls the case of the “7 November Three” of last autumn, when three activists were led off after a peaceful and lawful protest and charged – on what was plainly false evidence, as the whole incident was filmed, of resisting arrest.
In the video of this incident the activists can be seen defacing the street sign before reading poems (in English and Kartuli) mocking the Georgian regime. The police seem somewhat panicked by the fact the protest is being filmed and spend much more time on the phone – presumably seeking advice from superiors – than actually trying to arrest the protestors.
Anna Dolidze, a leading Georgian human rights lawyer and activist and Kakabadze’s wife, writes of the incident:
“Arrested poets were held in the police car for 2.5 hours where Irakli Kakabadze was verbally abused and beaten.
“Poets were charged with article 173 of the General Administrative Code of Georgia for “wilfull disobedience to police.” However, witness statements, video footage and photos confirm that all participants peacefully followed demands of policemen. As attorney for the defendants Anna Tsiklauri states the judge refused to view video footage of the event that shows that protesters immediately followed the demands of the police. Having spent one night in jail, all three poets were fined with $250, 10th of annual median income in Georgia. Court hearing was conducted behind the closed doors disallowing presence of family members and the media.”