Merab Kostava

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Merab Kostava

Merab Kostava (May 26, 1939October 13, 1989) was a Georgian dissident, musician and poet; one of the leaders of the National-Liberation movement in Georgia. He was born in 1939 in Tbilisi (capital of the Republic of Georgia).

In 1954 Kostava and Zviad Gamsakhurdia were founders of the Georgian youth underground organization "Gorgasliani". In 1956 and 1958 Kostava, Gamsakhurdia and other members of this organization were jailed by the KGB for anti-Soviet activity and distributing anti-communist literature and proclamations.

In 1962 Kostava graduated from the Tbilisi State Conservatoire. In 1962-1977 he was teacher of the music school in Tbilisi.

In 1973 Kostava and Gamsakhurdia were founders of the Initiative Group for defence of Human Rights. In 1976 Kostava co-founded the Georgian Helsinki Group (renamed the Georgian Helsinki Union in 1989). In 1976-1977 and 1987-1989 he was member of the Governing Board of this Human Rights organization. Since 1975 he was member of Amnesty International.

In 1977 Kostava and Gamsakhurdia were jailed. Kostava was sent to Siberia. He was released from jail in 1987. In 1988 he co-founded the Society of Saint Ilia the Righteous and was one of leaders of this political pro-independence organization. in 1988-1989 Kostava was one of the organizers and very active participant of all peaceful pro-independence political actions. On April 9, 1989 he was jailed again and was released after 45 days.

Kostava was active in the underground network of Samizdat publishers, co-publisher of the Georgian underground periodical "Okros Satsmisi" ("The Golden Fleece"). He was author of many important literary and scientific works.

Kostava died on October 13, 1989 after a car accident.

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