The Georgian Orthodox Church has come out against ‘the legalisation’ of drugs in Georgia, saying it is considering denying religious rituals to Orthodox Christians who die of an overdose. In a meeting of the Holy Synod, the Church’s ruling body, they called for harsh sentences for drug dealers, while also advocating treatment for users. [Read more…]
Georgia’s Orthodox Church distanced themselves from neo-Nazi groups, at a press conference at the Patriarchate on Monday, according to Netgazeti. Announcing their plans for 17 May — International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia — the Church urged any ‘aggressive’ groups to abstain from participating in events, and disavowed neo-Nazi group the Nationalist Socialist Movement — National Unity of Georgia. [Read more…]
Georgia’s Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia has apologised over police raids on two popular nightclubs in Tbilisi. Gakharia met with protest leaders during a rally in front of Tbilisi’s parliament building on Sunday evening. Far-right groups, who have been holding counter-demonstrations against ‘drug dealers and LGBT propagandists’ vowed to continue to protest.
Thousands of people rallied on 12 May against the nightclub raids and police violence, demanding the PM and Interior Minister’s resignations. [Read more…]
Masked police raided two popular Tbilisi nightclubs, Bassiani and Café Gallery under the pretence of detaining drug traffickers on the night of 11 May. Police forcibly removed club-goers from the venues and clashes ensued. [Read more…]
Several dozen have gathered on 8 May in front of Tbilisi Public School No 1 to ‘pay respect’ to those who died from ‘unidentified substances’. At least four passed away in their sleep in the last two weeks in Georgia, allegedly from drug overdose after visiting nightclubs. [Read more…]
The future of the drug decriminalisation bill being considered by Georgia’s parliament has become even more uncertain, after the Interagency Council Against Drug Use, an official advisory body set up in 2011, discussed an alternative, ‘gradual decriminalisation’ initiative. Drug policy activists denounced the initiative, as it would not abolish Article 273 of the Criminal Code, which criminalises the use or possession of drugs in small quantities.
Giorgi ‘Bakhala’ Giorganashvili, a Georgian actor sentenced to eight years in prison in January on drug charges, has now been charged with organised drug trafficking. The Interior Ministry claims Giorganashvili was involved in a plot to smuggle drugs from Turkey to Georgia in an ambulance; if convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison, or life imprisonment. [Read more…]
A bill to decriminalise drug use and possession of small quantities has been put on hold, as an interagency commission has expressed support for a new government draft drug policy law. The new bill has faced backlash from activists and rights groups, who say it does not address the problems with the country’s drug policy.
Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets on 25 January to protest the conviction of actor Giorgi ‘Bakhala’ Giorganashvili on drugs charges. Tbilisi City Court sentenced Giorganashvili, who claimed police planted drugs on him, to eight years in prison. [Read more…]