Parliament has dropped a controversial bill, that sought to make “insult of religious feelings” administrative offense, after its sponsor, MP from GD ruling coalition Soso Jachvliani, withdraw the proposal.
“We take note of the fact that MP Jachvliani has withdrawn this draft, therefore the Parliament is ceasing consideration of this issue,” Parliament Speaker, Davit Usupashvili, said at a session of the parliamentary bureau on February 15.
The bill, which was endorsed by parliament’s human rights committee earlier this month, drew criticism from human rights groups and also from some ruling coalition members. Amnesty International also said that the bill, if approved, would have undermined freedom of expression in Georgia.
A similar bill was proposed in late 2013 by the Georgian Interior Ministry, but it was also dropped at the time.
Although in January, 2015 the Georgian Orthodox Church called on the authorities to provide for protection of rights of believers against “insult of religious feelings”, the Patriarchate denied being behind the recent bill.