The Greek extreme metal band Rotting Christ were held in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi last Thursday. Rotting Christ have been arrested in the Eastern European state of Georgia on a terrorism charge, allegedly related to the band’s name.
Frontman Sakis Tolis explained in a statement that he and his brother, drummer Themis Tolis, were stopped by police as they tried to exit the airport on their arrival on Thursday April 12.
He said: “We had our passports and mobile phones taken away and were lead [sic] 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.”
Following this, Tolis claims he and his brother were kept in a ‘small and rather dirty’ cell where ‘conditions were bad’ without contact with their lawyers or the Greek embassy for 12 hours, and that no further information was given to them.
The band were eventually released following negotiations. As Tolis explained: “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!”
The band were allowed to depart Georgia to continue their tour in Armenia the following day. They are playing in support of a new career-spanning compilation, Their Greatest Spells. (TheQuietus).
PS Georgia is a Caucasus state in Eurasia.