“I Will Go to the Protest This Very Day” — What Lazare Talked About After Leaving the Prison

გიორგი ბასხაჯაური/მედია აპრილი

After leaving the prison, Lazare Grigoriadis said that he does not regret his participation in last year’s March protests and will join the protest against the Russian law again.

“I am planning to come to the protest. I think that young people do not need to be adressed, they are already active”, Lazare said, noting that the Russian law is destroying the country’s democracy, and we cannot adopt such laws on the path of the European Union.

He thanked both his supporters and the President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, for the pardon: “I was shocked. The only thing I heard was I pardoned him and after that I don’t remember anything”.


Lazare also spoke to the journalists about the evidence of the prosecutor’s office and noted that he will consult with the lawyers whether he will appeal the court’s decision or not.

“As it usually happens at protests, completely different police officers are brought who did not arrest the activists. The situation was the same here. They had politicized police officers in the court as well. As I already said, they threatened to arrest my friend and I agreed to everything, I had no other choice. It was exactly same kind of threat at the confession. […]

4 testimonies were from police officers and there were traces of petroleum products, which I don’t think is much of strong evidence. Oil products can be many things. It was not mentioned how long it was on my clothes or which one it was,” he said.

When asked how hard it was in prison and what was most difficult for him, Lazare said that being without music.

Grigoriadis was met by family members, friends and supporters when he left the prison.

Lazare Grigoriadis was arrested on March 29, 2023. According to the prosecutor’s office, he used stones and so-called Molotov cocktails against police officers. On March 31, the court sentenced Grigoriadis to prison as a preventive measure.

During the course of the case, a new charge was presented against Lazare, which was related to the wounding of his father in 2021. The activist was charged with intentional slight injury to Beka Grigoriadis and damage to his car. On September 25, the court found Lazare guilty in this case and sentenced him to 1 year and 6 months of imprisonment. Beka Grigoriadis said that this case was brought up now for political reasons.

At the same time as the court proceedings, Georgian Dream constantly tried to damage the reputation of Lazare and conducted a discrediting campaign against him. In particular, the members of Georgian Dream immediately connected Grigoriadis with the opposition. In addition, he was referred to as “disoriented” with a homophobic subtext.

As 24 non-governmental organizations claimed, the protracted trial of Grigoriadis was in violation of his procedural rights.  According to the assessment of the Center for Social Justice, the prosecution’s evidence in the case of Lazare Grigoriadis was contradictory and unconvincing. The organization claimed that various types of violations were revealed in the investigation and court hearings.

After a year of deliberations, the final session of the trial, which was postponed several times, was held on April 12. Judge Zviad Sharadze found Lazare guilty under the following 2 articles of the Criminal Code:

  • By the second part of the Article 353’ (infringement of the policeman’s health in connection with his official activity);
  • Article 187, part two, subparagraph “A” (destruction of another’s property by setting fire).

The President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, accepted the decision to pardon Grigoriadis on the same day when the court sentenced Lazare to 9 years of imprisonment, but he signed the act of pardon today, April 24, because the judge took 2 weeks to prepare the documents.