Regional Dialogue of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law


Giorgi Tortladze’s Initiative


Kick and Drugs 


Gap between ideality and reality


Drug Policy is a Public Interest


Alcohol, Drugs and Driving


Treatment of Opioid Users in Prison Institutions


Methadone substation treatment launched in Kutaisi


Prison Methadone Program in Georgia


 Hair analysis tests to detect positive result from 2 up to 4 months after drug use


AIDS treatment center to be opened in Kutaisi


New Drug Policy for New Georgia


Georgia on the way of drug policy liberation


Mikheil Saakashvili claims 8000 drug users have been detained


Unprecedented Amnesty in Georgia


Punishment without Proof


Three-fold increase of drug offences


Methadone Treatment & American Way of Happy End in Georgia


Everyone will  go to prison!


Methadone Substitution Treatment Program in Georgia


Former spy, a citizen of Iran

gives interview to Drug Policy Georgia

      Esmail at the Administrative Collegiate of the           City Court of Georgia

Mr. Esmail, citizen of Iran, was born on March 21, 1964. At age 14, he left Iran to live in the United States where he resided for ten years. Upon his arrival in Iran in 1998, he was arrested at the International Airport in Teheran under the suspicion of spying for the United States and, as a result, detained in the Evin prison in Teheran. His mother was executed and killed by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1991 and all his property was seized by the government.

After release when he went in Turkey, he converted to Christianity.  After Turkey and Armenia rejected for refugee status to Mr. Esmail, on February 23, 2006 he entered Georgia. He requested the one from the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation of Georgia, but he once again received a letter of rejection. Defense lawyers from the 

the NGO “Article 42 of the Constitution” are presenting Mr. Esmail Ebrahimi Pashabaig in Georiga. His application has been in pending status at the Administrative Collegiate of the City Court of Georgia. There is a high possibility that Mr. Esmail will be deported and handed to Iranian authorities, especially considering “the good relations” between the two countries (mostly in economic issues). In addition, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees refused to prolong Mr. Esmail’s term of his refugee status. The process of court processing is very slow and Mr. Esmail is under the treat of deportation to Iran where he will be executed.  

According to the article 47 of Georgian Constitution, an asylum seeker cannot be handed to another country for an activity which is not a crime according to Georgian legislation. The paragraph 2 of the same article provides shelter to aliens… Criminal Code of Georgia also prohibits the handing an alien who will be sentenced to the death penalty in his country.

Drug Policy Georgia: please briefly say in a few sentences about you and your experience. Where are born and where are you come from. Tell me also about your family. Why you leave Iran? How is drug related crime punished in your origin country (I mean drug use, drug dealership and etc.)? What is drug policy like in your own country? 

I was born in Iran, city of Rasht. March 21.1964. I entered Georgia from Armenia, Feb.9.2006. I have a father, two sisters, they are married. One has 4 children, one has 3 children. I left, I ran away for many reasons; the main reason is my religious beliefs, my Christian faith. According to the Mulsim law, those who change their religion, will be punish by death. I became a Christian in 1979.

In Iran, due to the rules of Islam, drugs are easier to get than alcohol. In the holy book of Koran, alcohol is considered a dangerous substance, but nothing is said about drugs.

In Iran, drugs are heroin, opium, and Hash; lately new drugs are being use by the Iranian youth, for example pills, ice, Glass L.S.D. cocaine, etc.

Because the government has no scientific information to cure drug addiction, the government punishes drug addicts according to the behavior of the person’s addiction to one of the mentioned substance.

According to the legislation:

For hash-addiction, 6 months prison term

For dealers, 2 years up to life sentence

For smugglers, more then 100 kg death sentence (execution).

For opium-addiction, 6 months prison term.

For dealers less then 5 kg 3 years up to life sentence

For smugglers more 5 kg Death sentence (execution)

For heroin-addiction, 6 months prison term.

For dealers less then 5 grams 2 years up to life sentence

For smugglers more then 5 grams death sentence (execution).

To my opinion drug policy in Iran is not correct. The government is not able to cure the drug addicted persons; this is why Iran has the most drugs users in the world, even more than China and the United States. Population in Iran is 82 million, China has more than 1 billion, and United States has more than 400 million people.

Drug Policy Georgia: During your stay in the US, what were you doing? Did you ever return to your country?

During my residency in the U.S, I graduate from the Christian high school, continued my studies at the City College, and then state university. I was a member of track and field team.

I returned to Iran after 10 years of living in U.S.. On January 11, 1989, when I was arrested at the airport under the suspicion of spying for the U.S., I taken to Evin prison.

Drug Policy Georgia: As I know you worked with American, British and Turkish law enforcement uncovering drug trafficking ways. How did you get in contact with them? What was your position? What was your task? Why they choose you? Why did you choose such dangerous work? Was it because you received very high salary or was there something else behind it?

I did work with American, British and Turkish law enforcement. While I was detained at Evin prison in Tehran, Iran I met a British spy, and later I helped him.

In 2001 while in Ankara, I contacted British embassy for help. I was interviewed by the third secretary and we became friends. On weekends we went to bars, night clubs, and restaurants. One night he told me a person from Scotland Yard was coming to Ankara to uncover drug routs to Europe, especially to the UK because drug addiction was getting very high in England one of his friend with very high position had become a heroin addict... He felt that due to my excellent English language knowledge, living in a prison for 7.5 years with drug users, dealers and smugglers and since all drugs from Afghanistan are trafficked to Iran, Turkey, Europe and England, he felt I would be suitable for a job in Scotland Yard’s Narcotic Division.

Two weeks later we met each other in his office at the British embassy in Ankara. My first report was on drug users, dealers and smugglers in Istanbul. Most of the drug users were Iranians and Africans. Drug dealers had a small shops and businesses. Drug smugglers had special ways to send drugs with fast boats from Turkish waters to Greece.

My report was sent to London to be analyzed. Two weeks later it was approved by the authorities in London, also for my security reasons, my name became confidential and I did not hold phone conversations.

My second report was on the city of Izmir, because Izmir is the second Turkish industrial city with seaports to European Countries, I indicated that most drug shipments were done in Izmir to EU countries and England.

Because UK is surrounded by sea, it means no cars can enter the UK. For smugglers, it is very difficult to send drugs to the UK by air plane. Those ships in Turkey were very large, easy to hide drugs in ships. It was impossible for custom officers to search and find them.

Then I was asked to find out how drugs come from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Iran’s (mostly from the city of Zahadan) border city, all the way to “Ormyeh,” an Iranian city near to Turkish border.

I discovered that most of the heroin laboratories in the villages of Ormyeh district were producing 200 kg of pure heroin and morphine 24 hours a day. I also provided the names of those villages. How the dealers pass through Iranian mountains to Turkish soils, by horses, donkeys and pick up cars. Most of the time by paying money (a bribe) to the Iranian Border Station Commander, at the specified times the Commander would send the solders to a far distance so that the shipment could to enter Turkish villages. Then those long vehicles would drive to Izmir and Istanbul. In order for those long vehicles to get to Izmir and Istanbul, the driver should pay great amount of money to the check point police. In addition, Turkish police officers in 2001 had very low monthly salary.

I and the British agent had many meetings at the Ankara police Narcotic dept because they had to know me so they wouldn’t arrest me as a criminal, without a notice they could charge me as a drug dealer or drug smuggler.

Also I entered to one Kurdish-Turkish drug smugglers and EU countries. Trough those Kurdish I discovered heroin laboratories existence at the region of Oiyarbarir Kurdish region in Turkey.

Because of this matter Scotland Yard agent told me because of my security I could not get into the details about how the Turkish narcotic police will operate for arresting those smugglers and I could get killed. He knew in every narcotic police dept, one person works and cooperates with the drug smugglers. Just the British agent, Ankara narcotic police commissioner and his assistance were aware of my activities.

Drug Policy Georgia: What do you think how many lives you have saved when avoiding those very negative impacts that drug related crime can bring to the society of any country? How many drug dealers have been arrested as a result of your work?

The achievement was that Turkish police were involved in every crime in Turkey. Accordingly, as I discovered, Turkish police cooperated with drug dealers. The reason why I chose this dangerous job was not because of high salary. It was for many reasons. The most important reason was that my mother was executed for drug charges. I believe she was used by smugglers, second because I have lived with drug related inmates, and I knew how useless and dangerous they are for the society, I had lived with drug related charges people for 7.5 years in prison so it was very easy to understand and communicate with them.

My achievement was: I could not save my mother’s life and my life was wasted in Iranian prison for 7.5 years. So in all those years all I wanted to save as many lives as possible, because I am still carrying the pain of the drugs’ negatives impact on me.

I don’t know how many drug dealers have been arrested; as a result the most important fact is that I did under covered them, so they could not operate easily, I am sure they paid very heavy casualties. Ankara narcotic dept commissar was assassinated few years ago, it means when they retaliate by assassinating the police commissar, they have no place to hide.

Drug Policy Georgia: You worked with Turkish law enforcement bodies. Turkey borders with Georgia. Please can you tell me about you experience with drug related crime which is related to Georgia?

To my opinion all the drugs must pass through Turkey. Georgia is very suitable for Mafia of drugs for many reasons: having border with Turkey, good diplomatic ties with Turkish government, having Black sea ports, if smugglers can send drugs from Turkey to EU. It could be very easy for them to smuggle drugs to Georgia much easier than Europe especially with heroin laboratories in Turkey.

The most important fact is conflict between Georgia and Russia. Russian drug mafia can easily use Abkhazia, Chechnya’s land borders to send drugs to Georgia, and taking advantage of the conflict between Georgia and Russia, as retaliation.

Drug Policy Georgia: What is the international experience is like fighting against drug related crime?

International experience fighting against drugs: controlling the infection by legalizing the drugs, because even if the natural plants be destroyed or stopped in a country like Afghanistan, the chemists in the laboratories are inventing new chemical drugs. More effective and dangerous on human brains, than natural drug plants like “Coca Leaf”, “Khash Khash”, “Grass”. So is much better to legalize the drugs so the addicted person gets his amount of dose every day cheaper, he doesn’t have to pay high price for it to commit a crime to buy his drug, and also they will be under control. By providing needles for addicted people for injection so they don’t have to share the same infected needle to spread the blood infected disease HIV/AIDS.

The tough policy against drug related crime is not successful, because the addiction is physical and mental illness, to cure the patient first we have to identify the illness, and then we can cure the patient. Also each drug has its effect on human brains; we know them as controlled substance.

By legalizing the drugs for addicted persons, is like the treating the patients in a scientific way. In America until 1948 alcohol was illegal, but smugglers were doing their jobs and people were using it. Crime related to alcohol in America was high, at 1948 by legalizing the alcohol, crime rate decreased; people used alcohol in a scientific way. My observation is that because we are living in an industrial and modern world, everyday heading ahead towards the future, we have to deal with drug related crimes in modern and scientific ways; this is the part of democracy and freedom.

Drug Policy Georgia: What is your personal observation on drug policy in Georgia?

My personal observation on drug policy in Georgia is very different and difficult than European or Asian countries. Because drug users in EU countries are fashionable, they are looking for some thing beyond their imagination, because they are living in a democratic and stable Economic system; in Asian countries people use drugs because of poverty. The drugs help them to escape from reality, it’s unreal richness and happiness, because they are not living in a democratic and good economic system. Unfortunately Georgia is facing the both of the mentioned reasons, towards drug related crimes because Georgia is experiencing the new modern democracy. Drug users in Georgia, looking beyond their imagination (fashion), also escaping from the financial, bad economy (poverty) this situation puts Georgia in a position to use and reflect the latest drug policy in the world in to its society, dealing drug related abused persons.

I think the government should legalize drugs, besides there should be detention or rehabilitation centers, for example, we make fast cars, but on our roads and highways we got speed limit, and we make cars faster and faster each year. By legalizing the drugs, the drug addicted person will get his daily dose cheaper and easier, when it is legal he has to pay more and when he doesn’t have the money he will commit any kind of crime to buy the controlled substance. By legalizing drugs the crime rate will decrease automatically it means more peaceful and secured society.

Unfortunately there never will be a way out; one can only control the disease from spreading to different level of society. Because the drug is evil and evil will always tries to get in control of human being trough our world history, evil has invited human minds in their dimension of life and time, so future humans, future generation has to face the evil in their dimension of life and time. All we can do is just try to stop this evil infection from spreading to different structure of our society.

In my country any person after getting arrested for drug related crime after a blood test or during his prison terms if he gets infected to those mentioned diseases. They will be detained in a very special detention center. Until they get cured somehow or until they die. By this act government believes that they are securing the patient’s family and the society. But in EU countries, they will be educated about the consequences of the disease and how to prevent from spreading to their family members or society. That is why every prostitute in Europe has to go through medical check up especially for HIV test every 6 month. They will carry dated ID card so when police checks on them to make sure they are not spreading the deadly disease and also by providing the new clean injection needles as much as they need, so they don’t have to use all with one needle.

Drug Policy Georgia: Why you choose Georgia as an asylum seeker?

I chose Georgia as an asylum country because during the cold war between the Soviet Union and USA, I became familiar with Georgia, cooperation of Mr. Eduard Shevardnadze and Mr. Mikhail Gorbachov for freedom and democracy in Soviet Union. I think Russian ex soviet countries will never achieve democracy without Georgia, because Georgia is part of freedom and democracy in ex Soviet Union, so have democracy in ex Soviet Union countries first should make Georgia democratic, but it will take some time.

Drug Policy Georgia: What are your expectations here in Georgia? 

My expectations in Georgia are: to work, attend Georgian language classes and receive accommodation by Ministry of Refugee and Accommodation.

By: Levan Jorbenadze, Inga Platais

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