NGOs Say Georgia’s Drug Policy Should Be Changed

TBILISI/SAMTREDIA- Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) believe that the Georgian drug policy is far from European standards and needs to be changed.

Their comments came after Demur Sturua, 22, from Dapnari village, Samtredia region, committed suicide on August 8.

Before hanging himself, the young man wrote a letter, saying a local policeman had used physical and psychological violence against him aiming to gain information about people in the village suspected of growing marijuana.

The letter identifies the policeman who put pressure on the deceased, threatening him with arrest- district inspector-investigator Goderdzi Tevzadze, who has already resigned.

On Friday, the Prosecutor General’s Office released a statement saying the Samtredia District Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs had launched an investigation into the criminal case on the count of inciting Demur Sturua to suicide, under Article 115 of the Criminal Code of Georgia. 

“Since it became known that in his suicide note, Demur Sturua had referred to pressure exerted on him by a district inspector-investigator as the reason inciting him to commit suicide, the case has been transferred to the Investigation Unit of the West Georgia Regional Prosecutor’s Office for further investigation,” the statement reads.

According to the Head of the NGO Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association, Ana Natsvlishvili, current drug policy needs to be changed in order to prevent such incidents in the future.

“The drug policy does not fight drug addiction. It allows the State to blackmail, intimidate and kill people! This is not only the fault of one particular police officer; it is the fault of the State, which gives rights to the police to act like this.  Change the drug policy which kills!” Ana Natsvlishvili wrote on facebook.

The Public Defender of Georgia also commented on the case, saying it is important that the Prosecutor General’s Office be allowed to carry out primary investigative activities. According to the Deputy Public Defender, Natia Katsitadze, the Ombudsman’s representatives will study this case carefully.

Thea Morrison

14 August 2016 16:24