TBILISI. Aug 25 (Interfax) – Georgian parliamentary deputy Guram Sharadze, known for his radical attitude toward religious groups, burnt several Jehovah’s Witnesses books at a recent press conference in parliament.
He said this act conveys his solidarity with priest Vasil Mkalavishvili, who was expelled from the Georgian Orthodox Church and entered on the wanted list for allegedly organizing pogroms at Jehovah’s Witnesses congresses and burning their books.
He said “no one can be persecuted for burning literature belonging to a sect that has not been registered by the Justice Ministry.”
The deputy was enthusiastically greeted by several dozen supporters of the defrocked priest. They organized a march with Sharadze in Tbilisi and burnt many of the religious group’s books in front of the Prosecutor General’s Office.
Over the past few years, Georgia has been strongly criticized by the Council of Europe and leading countries for religious intolerance.
Responding to criticism, the Tbilisi district court ruled that Mkalavishvili be taken into custody, but the priest managed to flee into hiding.
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