A statement of the GDI regarding the incident that took place in the village of Samtatskaro, Dedoplistskaro District, on June 28, 2013

We have expressed our position on several occasions about the confrontation in the village of Samtatskaro, Dedoplistskaro Municipality, which is caused by the violence manifested on the part of the local inhabitants against Muslims living in the same village, and called on the state to take effective measures to protect the rights of the local Muslims.

Unfortunately, the ineffective and belated steps by the state provided a new form to the existing tension.

The failure of the state to take adequate measures against the offenders who were involved in the previous conflict situations has further encouraged the part of the population that are aggressive towards the local Muslims, which yesterday resulted in the invasion into Suliko Khozrevanidze’s private abode and threats and violence against him and his family members. According to news reports, he and his family members were threatened with death, arson of their house, and eviction of the family from the village. The incident involved up to 200 people.

Unfortunately, the police, as in the previous cases, limited themselves to separating the conflicting sides and failed to fulfill their law-imposed obligation to prevent the offence, detain the offenders, and call them to account. We believe that by failing to fulfill their obligations, which is manifested in the failure to make an immediate and adequate response against the offenders, the police in fact supported the violent part of the village’s population to commit a crime.

It is obvious that, in this concrete case, the systematic failure of the state to fulfill its positive obligations has led us to a deplorable situation. Suliko Khozrevanidze and his family have been practically left vulnerable before an aggressive population and their lives and health come under threat on a daily basis.

Such actions by the population have been encouraged by the statements of the officials of the local self-government body who justified the violation of the minority rights by the will of the majority and democracy as a form of the majority rule.

We believe that the actions of the persons who took part in yesterday’s incident contained the signs of a number of crimes punishable by the Georgian legislation, including threat (Article 151 of the Criminal Code) and hooliganism (Article 239 of the Criminal Code), which were motivated by religious affiliation.

We call on the state once again to respond adequately to the incident, apply strict measures against all the persons involved in the incident whose behavior went beyond the limits of law, and hold them accountable.