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CSO Group Says Government Delaying Drug Policy Reform

A group of thirteen civil society organizations, including the Human Rights Monitoring Center, the Open Society Georgia Foundation and the White Noise Movement, released a statement on May 14, a year after the police raided Tbilisi’s two top music clubs, accusing the authorities of delaying the drug policy reform.

“A year has passed since the May events, but the government has not used any of the working formats for addressing the issue in a rational and fair manner… the Parliament has postponed the drug policy reform process, leaving those imprisoned [on drug-related offenses] without answers,” the statement reads.

The organizations added that only in 2018, the law enforcement agencies opened drug-related criminal investigations against 3,650 persons, with guilty verdict delivered on 2,825 cases. They also said, as of today, approximately 5,000 persons are behind bars for drug-related offenses.

The CSOs stressed the government has to implement “fundamental reform,” and in the meantime, announce one-time amnesty for convicts serving “unfair and/or disproportionate sentences.” The organizations also said the authorities should set up a working group for that matter.

Police officers raided two clubs – Bassiani and Cafe Gallery – on May 12, allegedly following the leads regarding the dealing and use of club drugs that triggered three-day public protests. The protesters ceased the rally after Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia pledged on May 14 to investigate the case and renew the work on drug policy reform..

This post is also available in: Georgian Russian

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