Georgia's prime minister has called on lawmakers to soften antidrug legislation following protests against the arrest of two popular rappers who could face years in prison on possession charges they contend are trumped up.
In a June 10 statement, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said that the country's drug policy is “overly harsh, and its liberalization is in order.”
He urged parliament to take steps "to adopt a modified, more humane, and European law by the upcoming autumn sessions.”
The move came after thousands of people took to the streets of Tbilisi and Batumi, on the Black Sea coast, to protest the arrests of rappers Mikheil Mgaloblishvili, 28, and Giorgi Keburia, 21.
Protesters decried what they called the government’s “repressive” drug policy.
The rappers are accused of illegally purchasing and possessing Ecstasy. They could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
At a court hearing on June 9, Mgaloblishvili said police officers planted drugs on them because of a recent rap video by the duo mocking police.