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'Minors Behind Evangelical Baptist Church Raid'
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 7 Feb.'11 / 23:42

It was revealed on February 7, that minors were behind the raid on Evangelical Baptist church in eastern region of Kakheti last month - the fact, which the Georgian Public Defender said, was triggering alarm about intolerance among the juveniles.

Evangelical Baptist church, which also houses a school for local perish, was raided on January 28 with various belongings in the church smashed and feces smeared in the hall. It was the second raid on the same church in the village of Akhalsopeli of Kvareli district in last three months.

While the perpetrators in the first case remain unknown, police identified several minors at age 11 and 12 years who were behind the recent raid, Georgian Public Defender, Giorgi Tugushi, said in a statement on February 7. He said that while denying involvement in the raid of November 19, the minors confessed in the presence of parents taking part in the recent case and "apologized".

"The law enforcement [agencies] should pay more attention to the cases of this type; all the factors, which might be affecting and triggering violence among juveniles, should be carefully studied," the Public Defender said, suggesting that the minors could have been incited by others to commit this "violent act".

"When intolerance in the form of vandalism is so sharply demonstrated among children of this age, we should seriously think about what can be done by the society, school and the state to tackle and solve this problem. Preventive steps are required, including comprehensive awareness [campaign] among juveniles to increase culture of tolerance."

"I want to call on juveniles, thier families, school administrations and teachers to realize the threat posed by propaganda of intolerance and how important educational work is to foster eradication of negative stereotypes towards a different and strengthening of environment of tolerance," the Public Defender said.

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