Ithaca City of Asylum board members are calling on people to write to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, to protest the arrest and beating of former resident writer Irakli Kakabadze by security forces in the Republic of Georgia on December 25, 2015. Kakabadze, the Ithaca City of Asylum writer-in-residence from 2008 to 2011, was detained and injured on December 25, according to e-mail reports from Zurab Rtveliashvili, a former guest writer of Stockholm city, part of the International Cities of Refuge Network project (ICORN).
Kakabadze’s mistreatment occurred during a peaceful demonstration protesting the appointment of Judge Levan Murusidze to the Appeals Court of Georgia’s High Council of Justice. Critics claim that in 2007, Murusidze, as a member of the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Georgia, reduced the sentences of four people convicted of murdering a human rights activist.
Rtveliashvili reports that during the arrest, Kakabadze suffered a minor concussion, lost a tooth, and sustained an injury to his foot. Kakabadze, who is out on bail, will be tried beginning January 20. A video of his arrest is available on Facebook here.
Kakabadze is an award-winning Georgian writer who also chairs the Georgia Mahatma Gandhi Foundation. He is the author of Candidate Jokola, Maskhara and Baudrillard, Medea Rehabilitation Project, and Mother Courage of the Caucasus. He is a multifaceted artist and has collaborated with a number of other writers and performers to establish ongoing projects such as the Polyphonic Blues Band and the theater group Theater for Change. Recently, Kakabadze has been teaching at Georgian American University in Tbilisi. While a resident writer in Ithaca, New York, he taught at Cornell University and Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
To write to Prime Minister Kvirikashvili to insist on fair treatment and due process of Irakli and other activists, please go here and click on the box on the left hand side of the page marked “Write to Prime Minister.”