Georgia’s Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that drug charges against the two members of the Birja Mafia satirical hip hop group have been dropped. According to their official statement, the investigation could not collect sufficient and convincing evidence against rappers Mikheil Mgaloblishvili and Giorgi Keburia.
The Prosecutor’s Office also stated that an investigation has been opened against individual employees in law enforcement for abusing their power during the arrest of the Birja Mafia members.
The two members of the satirical group were arrested on June 8th, 2017 on charges of purchasing and possessing large amounts of the drug MDMA. If convicted, Mgaloblishvili and Keburia could have faced an 8-20 year prison sentence or even a life sentence.
Both men denied the drug possession allegations and said the drugs were planted on them by law enforcement agents. They believe they were arrested because of their music video which showed a policeman tied up on a leash like a dog. In the video, the policeman on the leash is now blurred over.
The Birja Mafia case caused wide outrage in Georgian society against police abuse of power and against the country’s draconian drug laws. Tens of thousands of protesters held a demonstration in support of the hip hop group on Tbilisi’s Rustaveli avenue after their arrest in June.