The Tbilisi City Court has ordered the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office to compensate material and moral damages and pay GEL 36,815 (USD 11,000) to Giorgi Keburia, a member of the Georgian rapper duo, Birja Mafia. Keburia was arrested in 2017 on charges of illegal purchase and possession of drugs and released on bail after the public outcry over the controversial case.
Keburia challenged the arrest in court in August 2018, demanding compensation for damages caused by the criminal prosecution initiated against him. Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI), a local civil society organization, defended the rapper’s rights in court.
The rapper duo members, Giorgi Keburia and Mikheil Mgaloblishvili were arrested on June 9, 2017, on drug charges, triggering large-scale protests. The Tbilisi City Court sentenced the two to pretrial detention, but later the Court of Appeals released them on bail. In December 2017, the prosecution terminated the criminal prosecution against them.
The detainees did not plead guilty, saying that drugs were planted by the police in response to their recent rap video mocking police.
The three-minute-long music video, depicting a policeman as a dog was first released in March 2017 but was soon removed from YouTube allegedly at the request of the police authorities. The later version of the video, published on YouTube on June 4, showed the policeman blurred.