Greek black metallers Rotting Christ were arrested earlier in the week (12th of April) in Georgia, apparently on charges of suspicion of Satanism and terrorism while on tour throughout Europe. It’s not the first time they’ve been flagged up for their controversial name, having performed under a different name in South Africa a few years ago, due to religious protesters.
As frontman Sakis Tolis goes on to say, the arrest was without justification and the situation was rectified later that day thanks to the help of the promoter and a rag-tag team of local legal experts, journalists and activists.
Tolis recalls the event:
We arrived in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi very early in the morning of Thursday, 12th of April. After the regular document check at the border, my brother and I were stopped by the police on our way out from the airport. After some minutes, we were ordered to follow police to another area of the airport under the pretence of further questioning before entering the country. Instead, we had our passports and mobile phones taken away and were lead into a prison cell. When we were demanding to be told the reason for this arrest, we were simply told this information would be ‘confidential’. Our lawyers informed us later that we are on a list of unwanted persons of national security that branded us as Satanists and therefore suspects of terrorism.
Without previous warning and no official reason, we found ourselves in jail, locked into a small and rather dirty cell and without being permitted any contact to the outside world or legal representation or our embassy for 12 hours. Conditions were bad and no further information provided during this time.
Luckily, only the names ‘Tolis’ were on the list and the other two band members started to work with the local promoter to extract us from prison and commence legal procedures. It took strong efforts and a complicated procedure to find a solution. Due to the hard work of the local promoter, who involved legal experts, journalists, and activists in Georgia, we were finally released. We are extremely grateful to everybody involved in this process. In the end, we were even able to perform our show and it turned out to be a fantastic night. We would also like to thank all our Georgian metal brothers for their overwhelming support!
While it’s obviously a misuse of justice, it’s great to hear the situation has been resolved and that this isn’t another case of an extreme metal band getting in real trouble and then being unable to listen to them ever again. On the contrary, you can catch Rotting Christ across Europe over the next few months and listen guilt-free to their newly released compilation album Their Greatest Spells. Lastly, we hope the members of the band are OK and that instances such as this will become a thing of the past.