Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association in conjunction with a partner organization, European Human Rights Advocacy Center filed in European Court of Human Rights on behalf of 10 participants of No to Panorama rally.
On July 19, 2015, a rally was staged outside Tbilisi Sakrebulo to protest Tbilisi Panorama project. Several participants were holding banners bearing words that compared Panorama to male genitals, which resulted in detention of 10 protesters by law enforcement authorities. 6 male detainees were placed in police pre-trial detention isolator, where they spent about 20 hours. Female detainees were held in a police vehicle inside the yard of police department for 3 hours, restricting their freedom. They received explanation about the cause of their arrest after several hours.
Based on police reports, the detainees were holding banners bearing obscene words; they were also chanting these words aloud, all of which constituted petty hooliganism according to the police. In addition, according to two police reports two detainees disobeyed to legal orders of the police.
Local courts found 7 applicants guilty of petty hooliganism for holding banners that bore “obscene” words and fined GEL 100 each. Court did not find any other violations by the applicants. In its resolution Tbilisi City Court stated that the prohibition served the purpose of protecting public moral and dignity and honor of individuals, without specifying identity of these individuals. As to remaining three applicants, the court did not find any violations.
In the complaint GYLA referred to Article 5 (right to liberty and security), Article 10 (freedom of expression), Article 11 (freedom of assembly) and Article 18 (limitation on the use of restrictions of rights) of the European Convention.
As you may know, GYLA is among the NGOs that protested restriction of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly of rally participants and their detention during a demonstration staged outside Tbilisi City Court.