Georgia: Political party helps men avoid military service


A political party in Georgia has created a religious organisation called the Christian Evangelical Protestant Biblical Freedom Church of Georgia in order to help men avoid military service.

According to Georgian law, priests serving a religious organisation are exempt from compulsory military service. The political party, Girchi, registered the religious order with the Ministry of Justice in March, and since then has the state-recognised authority to issue a document stating that a person is a priest. Girchi leader Iago Khvichia said, "Therefore, if [that] person is still conscripted into the army, it is a clear and flagrant violation of their rights."

The Christian Evangelical Protestant Biblical Freedom Church of Georgia could be registered with the Ministry of Justice after various failed attempts. Mr. Khvichia said to be a member a person "cannot be a fascist nor homophobe or xenophobic. He is obliged to spread the idea of freedom in society."

The Girchi party opposes military conscription, and takes advantage of a loophole in Georgia's human rights law. A member, Nika Oboladze, said "We have seen this opportunity, and we're using it." The Georgian army made clear that they are not happy with the law. A military spokesman told the Negazeti news website, "If this law remains unchanged, it will not be possible to draft conscripts."

Source: BBC News, Political party helps Georgians dodge the draft, 23 April 2017

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