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The News in Brief

Tuesday, October 31
Rally in Sokhumi to demand action against drug abuse epidemic

A campaign to demand action against drug addiction brought a large crowd out in the streets of Sokhumi on Thursday, under the slogan “Abkhazia without Drugs”.

The people who had gathered on Sergey Bagapsh Square in the center of the breakaway republic’s capital were mostly youth, and their main message was the “alarming levels” the problem of drug addiction has reached in Abkhazia.

They demanded that the Sokhumi government must strengthen the fight against drug crime in order to “save future generations”.

The de facto education minister who walked out to meet with protesters acknowledged that many young people are hooked to drugs and “we should fight against it together”.

The demonstration was organized by the activist group Social-Psychological Aid Center. The head of the organization Marina Gumba says drug addiction is affecting many families and in order to save the next generation, it is necessary to talk about the problem “much and loudly”.

The Center claims one of the main reasons why the problem persists is that the government does not fight drugs properly and it is very easy to buy them in Abkhazia.

“Of particular concern is the use of drugs among juveniles,” reads the statement of the organizers of the rally, which was sent to the de facto parliament of Abkhazia, demanding to increase the penalty for drug dealers and to lessen the punishment for users.

The protesters claim that the Abkhazian police does not actually fight drug dealers and there is a clear necessity to clean up the law enforcing bodies from top to bottom.

In the summer, the several de facto lawmakers demanded tougher punishment for drug dealing. They consider the current practice unacceptable when drug dealers are being sentenced to only 5 years in prison, or in rare cases to 15 years, and demand life sentence for them.

It is easy and quite cheap to get narcotic substances in Abkhazia. The trade is totally out of control, so drugs are easily accessible for more and more young people.

Accordingly, the number of drug users increases by 200 people every year, according to statistics prepared by the Sokhumi drug center. There are frequent cases of overdose, which leads to formal registering of drug addicts. But the real number of addicts is far higher, local specialists argue.

“2,440 people were registered in 2016, including 949 drug addicts and 1,491 alcoholics,” said Irma Anua, the region’s chief substance abuse therapist.

The trend shows that drug addiction has particularly increased among juveniles, Anua said in June. In the first half of 2016, 32 juveniles aged 12 to 18 underwent drug treatment in the clinic.

Abkhazia is a region of Georgia that broke away after a bloody war in the early 1990s but failed to get international recognition and is still run by a separatist regime increasingly propped up by Russia.
(DF watch)

Saakashvili – Prosecutor General started preparing documents to detain and extradite me

The Leader of New Rights Movement and Georgia’s former president, Mikheil Saakashvili, has declared that Ukraine’s Prosecutor’s Office has started preparing documents to detain and extradite him to Georgia.

“Recently, Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsennko has started preparing documents to detain and extradite me to Georgia,” he posted on his Facebook page.

As a reminder, on October 24,Lutsenko declared that Ukraine’s State Migration Service had refused to provide Saakashvili with refugee status. It means there are no special circumstances that can make Saakashvili’s extradition or deportation impossible.

Björk attends the rehearsal of Georgia’s National Philharmonic Orchestra

Björk, the legendary Icelandic musician and singer, arrived in Tbilisi on October 28. Björk will held concerts at the Tbilisi Concert Hall on October 31 and at Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater on November 3.

The musician plans to visit several regions of Georgia within the frames of a musical expedition to explore local music and folklore.

Yesterday, on October 29, the legendary singer personally attended the rehearsal of the Georgia’s Evgeni Mikeladze State Symphony Orchestra conducted by outstanding contemporary Georgian maestro and composer Nikoloz Rachveli.