Members of Greek extreme metal band Rotting Christ have been arrested in Georgia — the Eastern European country, not the American state, although that would also be scarily plausible these days — on charges of terrorism stemming from their controversial band name. Blabbermouth reports that the band were touring in support of their recent compilation album Their Greatest Spells when frontman Sakis Tolis and his brother, drummer Themis Tolis, were imprisoned in Tbilisi last Thursday. Sakis Tolis gave an account of the incident on his label Season Of Mist’s official Facebook page this week:
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 pretense 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!
Eventually, the band members were allowed to leave the country and travel to Armenia without any further incident. Their tour continues this weekend with a show in Burgas, Bulgaria.
During the 2000 Republican presidential primaries, evangelical Christian candidate Gary Bauer famously called Rotting Christ an anti-Catholic “homosexual music group” because of their name. And in 2005, they were forced to cancel several shows after Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine, a born-again Christian, refused to play on a bill with them.