“Let us all go to prison!” Deputy calls thieves’ laws continuation of Georgian traditions

“Let us all go to prison!” Deputy calls thieves’ laws continuation of Georgian traditions
Emzar Kvitsiani

The Georgian deputy believes that the article under which ‘thieves in law’ are arrested had been invented for the purpose of “genocide of Georgian youth.”

Representative of an opposition party The Alliance of Patriots of Georgia Emzar Kvitsiani has criticized the country’s existing laws against ‘thieves in law’ and thieves’ world on the whole, reports EADaily.

In his words, article 223 of Georgia’s Criminal Code that considers membership in a thieves’ community a crime had been invented for the purpose of “genocide of Georgian youth.” He provides an example when 5 young men were arrested for the fact that they gathered 20-30 lari ($9-11) for a mother of a ‘thief in law’ who was in custody in order for the woman to be able to visit her son in prison. That was, in the deputy’s opinion, nothing more than genuine Georgian and Caucasian traditions the thieves’ laws had derived from.

“And if we send everyone to prison due to these Georgian and Caucasian traditions, let us all go to prison!” Kvitsiani objected.

The representative of The Alliance of Patriots of Georgia Emzar Kvitsiani is known as the author of other odd initiatives. One of it is exemption of notions of sexuality and gender identity from legislation. The deputy had also demanded to prohibit wearing a hijab in public spaces.

Georgia was the first post-Soviet country to issue a law on severe sentence for the fact of being involved in higher hierarchy of the criminal world. In 2005, notions of Membership in thieves’ community and Thief in law emerged in Georgia’s Criminal Code. According to the first article, a person was sentenced to 3 to 8 years with or without a fine; ‘thieves’ faced from 5 to 10 years behind bars. In a year, in 2006, the legislation became even more stricter. Membership in thieves’ community started being punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term of 5 to 8 years; and the minimum term for ‘thieves in law’ became 7 years; the maximum term remained the same - 10 years.

A year ago, Georgia’s authorities tightened the law by raising the minimum term. Besides that, participation in thieves’ ‘conventions’, support of activity of ‘thieves in law’, and reaching out to ‘thieves’ became criminally prosecuted.

These measures towards ‘thieves’ made them leave Georgia. ‘Authorities’ generally move to Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and Western Europe. Due to this fact, Georgia’s MIA has to help foreign colleagues in operations related to detection and detention of criminal ‘authorities’ of Georgian descent.

With that, according to Georgia’s MIA, from 2018 till March, 2019, Georgian police officers were included in 20 major joint operations in the countries of the EU - along with French, Greek, Spanish and Polish colleagues. As a result, 141 citizens of Georgia - including 10 ‘thieves in law’ - were detained.

The President of Russia Vladimir Putin has recently signed a bill on criminal prosecution of ‘thieves in law’.

The bill was offered by the President himself. It implies criminal prosecution for leadership in criminal hierarchy (article 210.1 of Russia’ Criminal Code). The punishment implies from 8 to 15 years behind bars and a fine of 5 million rubles ($76 thousand). Creation and leadership of a criminal community shall be punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term of 12-20 years and a fine of 5 million rubles ($76 thousand). Participation in a ‘convention’ of leaders of organized crime groups shall be punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term of 12-20 years and a fine of 1 million rubles ($15 thousand).

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