President to Ease Punishment for Non-Violent Crime

Georgia’s President, Giorgi Margvelashvili, has announced that he will be easing the laws surrounding non-violent crimes. The new regulation is expected to come in to effect in the near future. 

Under the new rules, a person convicted of a crime not in the category of ‘non-violent’ will be able to apply for a Presidential pardon immediately after the completion of their final court hearing. Currently, the individual has to serve the punishment without negotiation. 

Zviad Koridze, the Pardon Committee Chairman, commented by saying “through this initiative, the President has once again demonstrated his attitude to non-violent crimes, making the pardoning procedure more humane.” 

The opposition and the ruling Georgian Dream party team have said that they see no problem with his decision. 

“We don’t see any problem in this initiative if the matter concerns drug users. Moreover, we have a specific proposal, a legislative amendment aimed at making the law more humane with regard to drug users. There is nothing controversial in it. However, if it concerns drug dealers, we will be completely against it. Let me put it another way, our humaneness shouldn’t contain the risk of encouraging crime,” said the Georgian Interior Minister, Giorgi Gakharia. 

Nika Rurua, a member of the United National Movement, said “it’s a move in the right direction […] However, this measure is hardly enough. It’s necessary to decriminalize drug offences. In other words, drug users shouldn’t be sent to jail.” 

Giorgi Tughushi, a member of the European Georgia party, called the President’s initiative “absolutely acceptable.” 

NGOs and civil groups in Georgia have criticized the President’s harsh rules surrounding drug laws for a long time and have been fighting for the pardoning rules for convicted criminals to be changed. In December last year, a mass protest took place which was organized by civil activists to have the rules changed, and for a mass pardoning for already-convicted felons.

By Tom Day 





05 February 2018 13:53