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Georgian Police Arrest Gay-Rights Activists After Attack


Levan Berianidze (left) and Tornike Kusiani appear in court in Batumi on August 25.

Georgian police have arrested and charged two gay-rights activists with hooliganism and civil disobedience.

Levan Berianidze and Tornike Kusiani, members of the Movement for Equality, were arrested in the resort city of Batumi on August 25.

A court later released the two activists from detention.

Ana Mdinaradze, a lawyer for the two men, said her clients were confronted and then physically assaulted by several unidentified men.

She said police officers at the scene held her clients as they were beaten by the unknown men.

Members of the Equality Movement have accused law enforcement of abuse of power and homophobia.

Although homosexuality and gender-change are legal in Georgia, society's view of the LGBT minority remains negative.

In October, a 34-year-old Georgian transgender woman died in a Tbilisi clinic after succumbing to injuries she suffered in an attack.

Zizi Shekiladze was hit several times with a concrete bar and her throat was slashed by a blade several times in the Georgian capital.

In 2013, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists who tried to carry out a gay-pride march in Tbilisi were severely beaten by members of antigay groups.

* This story has been amended to correct the spelling of Zizi Shekiladze's surname and to remove a mention of her birth name.
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