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Drug Policy National Platform Statement on the death of Demur Sturua

August 20, 2016

Drug Policy Georgia joins the below mentioned statement on the death of Demur Sturua, who committed suicide on August 8, 2016 because of intimidation from a local police officer in Samtredia region. The police officer intimidated Demur Sturua to reveal the facts concerning Marijuana growing. He left the written letter describing the police officer’s conduct against him.

We are very concerned on the death of 22 year young man – Demur Sturua. We are deeply sad on his death and feel his family’s and friends’ sadness. We demand prompt and fair investigation of such a horrible fact and punishment of those who are responsible.

We are shocked about the fact that a young person might commit suicide on the basis of the intense influence, threat and violence from a police officer. The written letter left by him is a thorough reflection of 

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repressive system and a widespread practice which has been formed by current drug policy. The current drug policy is soviet style remains directed only against persecution of people and unfair punishment, and exclusively serves law enforcement’s private institutional needs – having a tool of intimidation and fear to make forcible cooperation and information delivery. The drug policy of Georgia is irrational and inhuman, violates human rights and dignity. Georgian “killer” drug policy has no analogy in a civilized world. There is no evidence having positive results from such policy, on the contrary experience and facts that make young people criminals, torture, death and forms unfair and degrading public policy.

If the facts described in Demur’s letter confirmed, the responsible should be not only the very police officer but entirely the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Government of Georgia and those decision makers who by act or inactivity, helps the current reckless and inhuman drug policy in Georgia and who contradicts any progressive amendments within this directions.

We demand the Georgian Government for immediate drug policy reform, which at least includes the change of drug policy and increase of care and help programs. Georgian National Drug Policy Platform is ready to introduce the package of the legislative amendments and a detailed plan and contribute to drug policy reform process.

Georgian National Drug Policy Platform

Georgian Network of People Who Use Drugs (GeNPUD), White Noise Movement, June 2 Movement, Addiction Research Centre – Alternative Georgia, Georgian Harm Reduction Network, Anti-Violence Network of Georgia, Georgian National Association of Mental Health, Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association, Association of Georgian Addictologists, Georgian Mental Health Coalition, Georgian Community Advisory Board (Ge-CAB), Georgian Institute of Public Affairs, Center for Training and Consultancy (CTC), Medical Centre “Uranti”, Clinic “Neogen”, New Vector, Article 42 of the Constitution, Tanadgoma, Hepa Plus, Rubikoni, Step to the Future, Akeso, Ksenoni, The Centre for the Protection of Constitutional Rights, Real People Real Vision, Positive Choice, Imedi, Pheniksi 2009, Hera XXI, New Way, Global Initiative in Psychiatry – Tbilisi, European Students for Liberty, The Initiative for Vulnerable Groups Rehabilitation, Public Unity “Bemoni”, Disease Prevention, Control and Nonproliferation Centre, Human Rights Education and Monitoring Centre, Georgian Red Cross Society.   

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Drug Policy Georgia website works to promote information in the field of Georgian drug policy based on harm reduction and human rights, take an active part in advocacy and drug policy change, make the information and legal aid service available to everyone interested in the field