Beaten Photographer Shown Solidarity in Kutaisi
On November 2, in the vicinity of White Bridge, Kutaisi, Georgia up to 50 people held a solidarity rally to support photographer Roberto Quelini. Journalists, ordinary citizens and NGO representatives protested the beating of the photographer. Any type of violence, the protestors said, and especially aimed at the restriction of freedom of expression is unacceptable to them. The rally participants had the transparencies brandished wearing following slogans: “Let’s protect freedom of expression,” “Let’s protect freedom of creativity, ”Hypocrisy + cowardice = collective violence.”
On October 31 Kutaisi-based photographer Roberto Quelini was physically and verbally abused, the photographer said reporting to Media.ge. According to his story the incident took place after midday October 31, in the vicinity of White Bridge in Kutaisi. “Walking together with my girlfriend we approached a group of four people, who were apparently under the influence of alcohol. They started making aggressive statements against me – isn’t she the one he stripped naked! Of course I did respond. They started beating me, and tried to reach my girlfriend too,” tells Roberto relating aggression to the October 3, 2011 photo session.
At the time, in the scope of the photo contest Ilo announced by Kutaisi City Hall, Roberto Quelini organized a nude photo session of his girlfriend in Kutaisi, at white stones, in the vicinity of White Bridge. The event was followed by diverse response and feedback on social networks and media.
According to the photographer, after the photo session he happened to face insults by strangers, several times he had been leveled threats too.
After being roughed up, said the photographer, he reported to the police. The law enforcement interrogated him and provided medical expertise. According to the photographer the law enforcement body acted on-the-fly and four individuals having abused him are currently arrested.