07TBILISI1103, JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES WIN CASE AGAINST GEORGIA IN THE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI1103 2007-05-11 13:40 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO2593
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #1103 1311340
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 111340Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6308
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TBILISI 001103 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES WIN CASE AGAINST GEORGIA IN THE 
EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS 
 
 
1.  On May 3, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 
Strasbourg ruled that Georgia violated three articles of the 
European Human Rights Convention in the case of "Ninety-seven 
members of the Jehovah's Witnesses of Gldani Congregation against 
Georgia."  The case, which was first launched in 2001, pertained to 
an October 17, 1999 attack against Jehovah's Witnesses carried out 
by a radical Orthodox priest, Basil Mkalavishvili and a group of 
supporters.   The court obligated Georgia to pay compensation to the 
amount of 35,000 euros to the victims. The Jehovah's Witnesses 
community in Georgia called the decision a significant victory. 
 
2.  At the time of the attacks in 1999, Georgian courts did not take 
up the case despite a pledge by then President Shevardnadze, to 
start criminal proceedings against Mkalavishvili's group.  With 
their case stalled in the Georgian justice system, and in the face 
of continuing attacks by Mkalavishvili's group, the Jehovah's 
Witnesses eventually filed a suit directly with the ECHR in 2001. 
Mkalavishvili and his supporters were finally arrested by Georgian 
authorities and convicted by a Georgian court in 2004, after the 
Rose Revolution brought a new Georgian government to power. 
 
3.  Genady Gudadze, a leader in the Jehovah's Witnesses community in 
Georgia, told us that between 2001 and 2003, they filed more than 30 
suits with the ECHR.  The May 3 ruling brought the first case to a 
close.  Encouraged by the verdict, Gudadze said the Jehovah's 
Witnesses expect to win the remaining cases as well. 
 TEFFT

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