Great new legal defense – “If someone was the organizer, it was Jesus Christ.”
By Cathy Kristofferson, June 3, 2013
On Friday two priests attended Court to answer charges following their arrest at a riot in Tbilisi, Georgia, when thousands of anti-gay protesters, including Orthodox Church priests, descended upon an International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHOT) rally which had been authorized by Tbilisi authorities. (See initial report here on this BLOG.)
The two priests, the head of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi, Antimoz (Tamaz) Bichinashvili, and the head of the Ioane-Tornike Eristavi Monastery, Iotam (Irakli) Basilaya, are facing criminal charges for illegally impeding the right to assembly and demonstration with use of force or threat of force. The charges carry either fines or one year of corrective work or imprisonment for two years.
Interfax is reporting that one of the priests, Father Antimoz Bichinashvili, told reporters outside the court:
“We are accused of disrupting this rally and subjecting its participants to violence, but it isn’t so. We weren’t the organizers. Everything happened spontaneously. It was probably God’s will. If someone was the organizer, it was Jesus Christ.”
During the riot, Father Antimoz Bichinashvili who had grabbed a stool from a street vendor to wield as a weapon, was seen in video footage swearing and shouting as the crowd was moving violently towards the gay rights activists:
“We will kill you.”
If Jesus Christ was in fact the organizer of their spontaneous direct action I highly doubt threatening to kill the participants of the peaceful rally was part of his script.
Four others were arrested at the riot, but they were only they were found guilty of petty hooliganism and fined by the court back on May 21. 28 people, including three police officers and a journalist, were injured in the violence that ensued after the anti-gay demonstrators broke through police cordons setup to protect the rally. Seems to me, it was only the priests inflicting violence which make the priest’s claim that it was a response to God’s Will following Jesus Christ’s organizing seemingly very un-Christian.
The Tbilisi City Court scheduled July 15th for a hearing of the case. We will have to wait and see what the priests’ claims are about spontaneity, God’s Will and Jesus Christ when they under oath.
- Violence and homophobia at IDAHOT rally results in two priest arrests (oblogdeeoblogda.me)
- IDAHOT Around the World | The good, the bad, and the ugly (oblogdeeoblogda.me)
By Cathy Kristofferson, , @GE_MA_Lead