Greek Metal Band Arrested in Georgia on Suspicion of ‘Satanism’

The Rotting Christ’s Tolis brothers

Two brothers, members of a Greek death-metal band, spent 12 hours in a Georgian jail after they were arrested on suspicion of ‘Satanism’.

Frontman of Rotting Christ, Sakis Tolis, says that he and his brother Themis were locked into “a small and rather dirty cell” in the capital Tbilisi.

Writing on the Facebook page of Rotting Christ’s record label, Season of Mist, Tolis describes how they were stopped by police at the airport and taken away for questioning.

Later, they were deprived of their passports and imprisoned. Police told them that the details surrounding the case were “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,” Tolis says.

The band’s other members were not on the police list and were able to work with local promoters to resolve the situation. The brothers were later released and managed to perform their concert.

“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!” Tolis writes on Facebook.

Georgia’s Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia confirmed the incident and defended the right of airport authorities to check on suspects:

“Border guards stopped several people for checking them. This is the legitimate right of a border guard and relevant agencies,” he was quoted as saying by interpressnews.ge.

Rotting Christ was formed in 1987. They are noted for being one of the first black metal bands within this region, as well as a premier act within the European underground metal scene.

Over the years, the group has faced controversy due to their name and gained international media attention in November 1999 during the 2000 U.S. Republican presidential primaries when candidate Gary Bauer accused the band of being “anti-Catholic”, among other things.