Politicians' participation in the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy is a risk factor, said Vaidotas Mazeika, deputy director of the Department of State Security (VSD) in Lithuania, reports Lithuanian publication LRT.
Lithuanian intelligence names Russian-led Orthodox forum that sparked protests in Georgia ‘a foreign policy tool’
By Levan Abramishvili
Monday, October 7
"It's a parliamentary forum which, we believe, is used for foreign policy goals. In our opinion, the participation of lawmakers in such a format constitutes a risk factor," Mazeika told journalists on Wednesday.
During a closed-door meeting of the National Security and Defense Committee on Wednesday, the VSD head presented information on the Orthodox forum.
The Committee organized the meeting on the initiative of members of the opposition and discussed the situation concerning the recent participation of MP Irina Rozova in Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy at the Parliament of Georgia on June 20 of this year.
Lithuania's opposition conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats have expressed concern about Rozova's participation in the forum earlier.
Rozova is a member of the Russian alliance that is part of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance's political group in the Seimas (Parliament of Lithuania).
She told reporters last week that she didn't receive any warning to not attend the event in Tbilisi, and said the Board of Seimas approved her attendance.
This june, the address of the Russian MP from the chair of the Speaker of the Parliament during the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy caused massive protests in Tbilisi.
Since then, the anti-occupation protest called #shame has been going on for over almost three months.Sparked by th MP’s visit, the protests continued after the night of June 20-21 dispersal.
Some of the initial demands of the protests were met, including the resignation of the Chairman of the Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze and announcement that the 2020 parliamentary elections would be held with proportional system and ‘zero’ threshold.
However, several months in, the anti-occupation protesters still demand the resignation of Giorgi Gakharia, the former Minister of Internal Affairs and recently appointed Prime Minister, for the dispersal of the protests, dubbed as the ‘Gavrilov night’, after the Russian lawmaker.
Recently, organizers and activists of ongoing ‘Shame’ protests held a rally in the courtyard of Tbilisi City Court to protest the release of Levan Imerlishvili, an employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs's Special Tasks Department, arrested in connection with the June 20-21 dispersal.
Levan Imerlishvili was arrested on July 15. He is charged under Article 333, part 3, subparagraph ‘b’ of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which encompasses excessing official powers using violence or a weapon. Arrested during the same investigation, a total of three law enforcement officers remained in custody until recently, last of whom was Imerlishvili.
Imerlishvili was arrested on July 15. He is charged under Article 333, part 3, subparagraph ‘b’ of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which encompasses excessing official powers using violence or a weapon. The other two law enforcers were also arrested during the same investigation.
On the night of June 20-21, after an attempt of one group to break into the parliament building, the police used rubber bullets and tear gas against the demonstrators, several hundreds of who were severely wounded, some lost eyesight to the bullets.
About 20 people participating in the June 20-21 rally remain in custody as part of an investigation launched by the Interior Ministry.