Georgia closes its doors to thieves in law 

Georgia closes its doors to thieves in law

The recently released thief in law Suliko Sharikadze could not be sent home due to diplomatic delays on the part of Georgia. The dangerous tendency of failures in the deprivation of citizenship of thieves in law with the subsequent deportation causes concern of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs.

After a six-month stay in a deportation center, Suliko Sharikadze was released, since Georgia did not confirm his Georgian citizenship.

The low level of interaction with the Georgian law enforcers is a source of dismay for representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. According to the MIA Main Administration of Criminal Search, 47 thieves in law were detained in Russia in 2016 alone; 10 of them were later deported, and 11 more were notified of the undesirability of their stay on the Russian territory.

сулико.jpgIn particular, the MIA fear that the example of Sharikadze can inspire other thieves in law awaiting the deportation, including Shalva Avdoiyan (Shaliko Tvilissky), Miron Gorgidze (Miriko), and Georgy Beriashvili (Giya Beremena).

Recently, the Russian law enforcement agencies have pursued a consistent policy of fighting thieves. They are deprived of Russian citizenship, and then deported to their historical homeland. According to statistics, Georgia is the homeland for more than half of all thieves in law.

According to the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs, 325 acting crime lords are of Georgian origin, whereby, only a few of them are in Georgia (and even those are in places of detention).

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This is due to the harsh Georgian policy in relation to thieves in law, which was historically formed during the regime of President Mikhail Saakashvili. The very status of a thief in law is subject to criminal prosecution in Georgia, punishable by 5 to 10 years of imprisonment under the article of the Georgian Criminal Code (Participation in a thieves’ community).

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The campaign against thieves, launched by the president, caused their mass outflow abroad, in particular, in Ukraine and Russia, after which Saakashvili declared Georgia the only country in the post-Soviet space, in which thieves in law had lost control over prisons and correctional colonies.

In 2012, a large-scale amnesty was announced, under which two-thirds of the thieves who had been serving their sentence were provisionally released, and the prison sentences of the rest were significantly reduced. At the same time, as previously reported by the CrimeRussia, the Georgian law enforcers ordered all amnestied thieves in law to leave the country within three days.

The new authorities that replaced Saakashvili's team continued the counter-thieves campaign, although their attitude towards thieves in law became noticeably more tolerant. However, in March 2017, an attempt was made at the state level to complicate the life of thieves in law in Georgia once again. The Interdepartmental Coordination Council for Combating Organized Crime, headed by Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia Shalva Khutsishvili took the initiative to tighten the legislation in relation to the thieves.

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Currently, most of the Georgian thieves in law operate in the territory of the post-Soviet space and in the countries of the European Union. It is known that in Greece alone there are more than 100 of them. It was reported that Georgian thieves in law control drug trafficking and smuggling through seaports of this country. Georgian criminals also live in other EU countries. 

However, a dark cloud is hovering over them, too. After a large-scale operation in a number of US cities to eliminate the criminal syndicate thief in law Razhden Shulaya (aka Razden Pitersky), when 27 people were detained on charges of racketeering, among whom 15 were citizens of Georgia or immigrants from that country (including two famous Georgian athletes, Avtandil Khurtsidze and Levan Makashvili), the counter-thieves trend spread to Europe. As reported by the Georgian publication Versia, in the near future, the EU police are planning mass raids against Georgian thieves in law.

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