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Beka is not a Criminal

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Monday, June 2
A rally, with the slogan “Beka is not a Criminal”, was held at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (TSU) in support of Beka Tsikarishvili.

Tsikarishvili, works at a local NGO. A few weeks ago he was charged for purchasing and possession of 65 grams of marijuana, for which he may be jailed from seven to fourteen years.

He was detained in June, 2013, when police found marijuana after searching him. He paid GEL 10,000 bail, but anyways spent 18 days in prison.

Tsikarishvili has recorded an appeal, in which he says that his problem concerns many other people. He says he has personally experienced Georgia’s strict drug policy.

The rally was planned via social networks and has gathered more than 5,000 supporters. With publishing video clips, blogs and posters, people demand the decriminalization of marijuana.

He appealed to the Constitutional Court demanding to abolish the strict punishment in such cases.

“We are protesting against the violent and unethical drug policy which cruelly punishes innocent people,” Tsikarishvili stated.

A year ago, on June 2, there was a large rally outside the old parliament building in Tbilisi. This year, the same rally is planned on June 2, but his time in Tbilisi it will take place at the government office. There also will be protests in Batumi, Zugdidi and Kutaisi.