Last weekend I participated in an amazing conference in Brussels, a round table on developing hate crime legislation and working relationships with law enforcement agencies. Today as the Christmas pies are baking in the oven and White Christmas is playing on the stereo, I find out that one of the other participants and ILGA-Europe executive board member, Paata Sabelashvili, was arrested the day he arrived home in Georgia.
There is a Facebook Group you can join in support of Paata: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&ref=mf&gid=219412330764
Paata Sabelashvili is the founder and the president of Inclusive Foundation, the only LGBT organisation in his home country Georgia. Paata is active in advocacy and lobby initiatives with national and European institutions. He is co-editor of the Me magazine. He is also involved in the networking of LGBT activists from the former Soviet countries. Before involvement in LGBT movement Paata worked to promote the cause for disabled and refugees.
From the ILGA-Europe press release:
ILGA-Europe is shocked by the conduct of the Georgian police, which had clearly homophobic motives. ILGA-Europe demands the immediate release of Paata Sabelashvili.
Linda Freimane, Co-Chair of the Executive Board of ILGA-Europe, said:
“We are very troubled by this news. The information we have received from Georgia indicates that the police acted disproportionately and completely ignored basic rule of law. Moreover, we are extremely concerned about the safety of Paata Sabelashvili, who is not allowed any contact with the outside world.”
Martin K.I. Christensen, Co-Chair of the Executive Board of ILGA-Europe, added:
“ILGA-Europe is in very close contact with our member organisation in Georgia and monitors the situation. We are compiling the facts and details so we can bring this shocking situation to the attention of various European institutions and eventually ensure that Georgian authorities behave in accordance with the rule or law and agreed international human rights standards. We will be releasing any further information as soon as we have more details.”