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Georgian drug suspect duo on trial in Malaysia

By Salome Modebadze
Friday, November 5
The first court session of the 26-year-old citizen of Georgia Babutsa Gordadze, one of two Georgians detained for significant drug trafficking, was held in Malaysia on November 3. Gordadze has been charged under Article 39 B - one of the greatest charges within Malaysian legislation carrying the possibility of capital punishment. The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia (MFA), along with the diplomatic corps, has been trying to negotiate with the Malaysian authorities. The Embassy of Georgia to Ukraine continues leading diplomatic talks with the Malaysian side for appointing a good lawyer for the Georgian detainees.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Grigol Vashadze has not yet talked to his Malaysian counterpart but the Minister has asked several colleagues in the region to assist in finding a peaceful solution to this problem. Vashadze could not make any comments about the possible result of their telephone conversation but hoped that the attempts of MFA to help the detained Georgian citizens will not be in vain.

According to the information released by Rustavi 2 the Chairman of the anti-Drug Department of Borneo Police explained that the Malaysian legislation prevented the accused person from hiring a lawyer before the first court session. “The first hearing of the case concerning the Georgian detainee was already held at the court. The women accused of drug smuggling didn’t have an opportunity to hire a lawyer but her health conditions have been normal so far,” the Chairman stated.

The exact date of Gordadze’s next court appearance is as yet unknown but it will supposedly be held next week. Providing the Georgian MFA with detailed information about experienced lawyers, the Public Defender of Georgia Giorgi Tugushi advised the MFA to make the most of its time before the next court sessions and ensure the detainees are with professional lawyers. Representatives of Amnesty International working to protect human rights worldwide could not attend Gordadze’s court but the woman, according to Tugushi, needs a good lawyer rather than a human rights defender. “The problem of communication with the Malaysian association is really embarrassing but I hope the MFA will find the relevant lawyers who will strongly defend the rights of the Georgian women,” Tugushi told the Georgian media.

Another Georgian detainee Darejan Kokhtashvili, who is accused of the same charge as Gordadze, is on the other island. The two women have not seen or spoke to each other since their arrest. Kokhtashvili’s first court hearing will be held at the end of this week and the members of her family asked the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and the Government of Georgia to extradite Kokhtashvili to Georgia to be sentence her in her homeland if necessary. “We have got the ambulance cars in front of our flat every day because her young children are suffering from the case,” Kokhtashvili’s sister told the media.

The two Georgian women arrested in Malaysia on October 27 are facing the threat of the death penalty according to Malaysian legislation for carrying 10.5 kilos of highly addictive central nervous system stimulant Methamphetamine (also known as Syabu) worth USD 3 million on the black market.

Meanwhile, Lasha Abramishvili, the Georgian citizen accused of killing a Bedouin was released by the Egyptian judiciary after the two months of detention facing the death penalty at the Al Arish prison in Egypt returned to Georgia on November 4 after the involvement of the Georgian authorities in the criminal case. The investigation of the case found that the 32-year-old Abramishvili was trying to save his life from the Bedouins along with the 5 other Georgians.

Thanks to Abramishvili’s bravery, all the other Georgians managed to escape from captivity, but Abramishvili himself was detained and sentenced to death. Later, the prosecutor lifted the charges of premeditated murder and the defendant was released. International Migration Organization assisted the Georgian side to organize the return of the Georgian illegal immigrant from Egypt to Georgia.