Georgian rappers facing life imprisonment for possession of drugs
If found guilty, the Georgian ‘Birja Mafia’ rap duo may be sentenced to life.
Giorgih Keburia (aka ‘Kay G’), 21, and Mikheil ‘Mishka’ Mgaloblishvili (aka ‘Young Mic’), 28, were arrested on 6 June for procurement and possession of particularly big quantities of psychoactive drug substances.
However, the arrestees’ relatives claim that the drugs were planted by the police. They believe that Mgaloblishvili and Keburia were arrested for their music video clip, featuring a man in a police uniform, tied up with a dog-leash.
According to law-enforcers, 2.3 and 1.5 grams of MDMA narcotics were seized from Keburia and Mgaloblishvili.
Mgaloblishvili has already been sentenced to two-month pre-trial detention. He has pleaded not guilty. As he told the court, he hadn’t possessed any drugs and his arrest was linked to the video clip.
According to Mgaloblishvili, during the arrest, law-enforcers verbally insulted him and asked him whether he was the author of that video or not.
“I was told that someone had been really annoyed by it and that I was treated so because they wanted to teach me a lesson. Then I was taken upstairs to a room, where I was subjected to insults and swearing, allegedly because I ‘disliked the police’,” Mgaloblishvili told the court.
Another arrestee, Giorgi Keburia, also pleaded not guilty. In his words, during the arrest law-enforcers mentioned his video clip:
“They told me: ‘Why on earth were you singing that song?! You’d better have sung about Santa’,” Keburia recalled.
The rappers were charged under an article that envisages punishment for 8 to 20 years in prison or a life sentence.
The rappers’ family members also confirmed the fact that the police disliked the video. According to Mgaloblishvili’s wife, Erica Copeland, a few days before their arrest, the Adjaranet entertainment website, which funded the video, told Mgaloblishvili to remove it from YouTube.
“Adjaranet officials called Mishka and told him, he was going to face problems and he’d better remove the video,” said Copeland.
The rappers arrest has stirred up a stormy reaction on social media.
Alongside an inhumane drug policy, which is used by the government as a weapon against its opponents, there is also an obvious censorship – the Facebook users believe. A protest rally outside the Government Chancellery has been arranged online by the FB users.
An online-petition demanding the release of the arrested rappers has also been initiated.