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Two rappers detained for drugs released amid rallies

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, June 14
Two Georgia rappers, members of the Birja Mafia music group who were detained a week ago for the alleged purchase and possession of an especially large amount of drugs, have been released on bail.

The release came after protests in the capital city after the rappers stated they were detained for their music clip, TSL Shavi Zeda, in which they mocked the police.

They claimed they received a phone call shortly after the release of the clip and were told “someone very much disliked” their work.

They accuse the police of planting MDMA on them and subsequent psychological pressure to admit the crime.

A day before their initial trial, the Prosecutor’s Office, which was earlier demanding their detention as a preventive measure for the rappers Mishka Mgaloblishvili and Giorgi Keburia, changed its view and demanded they be released on bail.

The solution was preceded by a post from Bera Ivanishvili, the son of Georgia’s ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili on his Facebook page, supporting the rappers. His sentiments were echoed by the Energy Minister and the Prime Minister.

The officials claimed “no one could be illegally” detained in Georgia and spoke about the important of liberalizing the country's drug policies.

Mgaloblishvili was released on 50,000 GEL bail and Keburia for 20,000 GEL bail.

If the court decides in the future that the two really possessed the drugs, they will face 8-20 years behind bars.

The opposition and the NGOs believe Bera's post could play a key role in the release, as they think the country’s real ruler in still Ivanishvili, founder of the current ruling Georgian Dream party.

The opposition and a number of NGOs claimed the detention once again revealed the drawbacks of the “inhumane drug policies” and their “illegal use” by some for their own interests.

Georgia’s Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani stated the country has already taken steps for the liberalization of the drug policies.

She said the results of a more liberal marijuana law would show how such changes could work on other drugs, as cannabis use for personal needs was liberalized through the law.