State Security Service: incitement to gov’t overthrow is ‘criminal offense’

The State Security Service Notes that the incitement to overthrow the government is ‘criminal offense’. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 03 Nov 2021 - 20:19, Tbilisi,Georgia

The State Security Service (SSS) of Georgia has responded to the opposition's recent protests following local municipal elections, asserting that statements which encourage revolution are ‘criminal offenses.’

The statement comes after the opposition declared the 2021 election results as ‘void,’ and announced anti-government rallies in selected cities of Georgia.

Some people have recently spread public statements through social and mass media, in which they deliberately or unintentionally called on their supporters for revolution and the overthrow of the government, involving violent measures, the SSS wrote.

The investigative body noted that the incitement to change the constitutional order of Georgia through violence, or to the overthrow of the state government, or dissemination of materials containing such appeals, as well as an appeal to take up arms for the same purpose, is punishable by imprisonment for up to three years.

We once again call on destructive forces to refrain from committing criminal offenses and stay in the legal framework, they added.

The SSS told Radio Liberty that the statement is ‘preventive,’ and nobody has been questioned for their statements so far.

The chairman of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association Nika Simonishvili says that the statement issued by the SSS may imply ‘limiting civit protests.’

If an action [revolution] is a peaceful protest, it is not a crime, and launching an investigation about it is against the law. The SSS says in advance that people should refrain from talking about this topic, Simonishvili explained.

The head of the opposition party European Georgia Giga Bokeria asserts that the SSS ‘is in service of’ the ruling Georgian Dream party founder Bidzina Ivanishvili, rather than serving the legal supremacy.

The SSS launched an investigation on October 29 about an alleged plan to overthrow the government.

The investigative body reported that opposition-minded civil activists plotted to obstruct former president Mikheil Saakashvili’s transfer to a prison clinic by blocking the roads, which would lead to civil unrest and the ultimate overthrow of the government.

All the activists have denied the allegations against them.