On January 22, 2016, former Ithaca City of Asylum writer Irakli Kakabadze was found guilty by a court in the Republic of Georgia on a charge stemming from his arrest during a peaceful protest on December 25, 2015. Kakabadze, who continues to suffer ill effects from a beating he endured during his detention after his arrest, has been fined the equivalent of $40USD. He plans to appeal the conviction. Video from the trial is available online.
PEN International has joined ICOA in calling for concerned people to write to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, to protest this situation.
Kakabadze was arrested on December 25 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.
During his detention, Kakabadze suffered a minor concussion, lost a tooth, and sustained an injury to his foot. A video of his arrest is available online.
Kakabadze, who was the Ithaca City of Asylum writer-in-residence from 2008 to 2011, 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 take action, please send appeals:
- Calling for fair treatment and due process for Irakli Kakabadze;
- Calling for immediate investigation into his physical mistreatment during his arrest;
- Urging the authorities to ensure that there is no future harassment of writers and activists for their peaceful exercise of their right to protest or freedom of expression.
Send appeals to:
Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili
7 Ingorokva St
Tbilisi 0114, Georgia
You can also send an online appeal to the prime minister.
Please send a copy of your letter to the Embassy of Georgia to the USA:
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Archil Gegeshidze
1824 R Street, NW
Washington DC, 20009
Please also share a copy of your letter with PEN International: firstname.lastname@example.org.