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Rappers accuse police of planting drugs

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, June 12
Two members of the music group Birja Mafia, who have been sent to pre-trial detention for the alleged purchase and possession of an especially big amount of drugs, claim the police planted the drugs on them because of a music video in which they insult the police.

The lawyers and the family of the detained rappers Mishka Mgaloblishvili and Giorgi Keburia claim the musicians received a phone call shortly after the video was released and were told “someone very much disliked” their work.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Government of Georgia strongly deny the accusations.

However, the Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili has addressed Parliament to make drug policies more European in nature, as if confirmed the people may be sent to prison for eight or twenty years, or even a life sentence.

The duo were detained on June 9.

Police said during the personal search of Mgaloblishvili, policemen seized 1,4965gr of MDMA, while as a result of the search held to Keburia law enforcers seized 2,3342 gr of the same drug.

The Interior Ministry claim that Keburia admitted his guilt, but his family claim he was pressured into making a false confession.

The lawyer of the detained Mgaloblishvili says that no drugs were found in the blood of the detainees and insists that the only reason the rappers were detained was their video clip entitled 'Tsl Shavi Zeda (Black Shirt)'.

In the clip, the singers abuse the police and those calling the police and say they are under the influence of drugs; the artists claim that this was simply satire.

The day after the incident, NGOs and the supporters of the rappers held a rally in central Tbilisi under the banner of “What Else May Happen.”

They stressed that police engage in planting drugs on people they disliked in order to detain them.

The Interior Ministry claims the allegations are false.

A special statement was released by Georgia’s Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who stressed the “biggest achievement” of the current Georgian Dream leadership was that no one is detained because of their views.

He stressed that the Prosecutor’s Office is currently investigating the detention of the rappers and “the process is ongoing”.

Kvirikashvili stated, however, that the country’s drug policies are too strict and requested that Parliament accelerate work on their liberalization.

Georgia’s Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili released a special statement over the incident, in in which he said both of the detainees stated at the trial that they were under psychological pressure from the police because of the video and they were forced to 'recognize their crime'.

The Ombudsman said it was of the utmost importance as to how the Prosecutor’s Office investigated the case.