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Georgia: Are the Police Backsliding?

A drug policy protest in Tbilisi in December 2016. The reform of Georgia’s law-enforcement apparatus was once the pride of the country, but a series of high-profile incidents of alleged police misconduct have highlighted concerns that progress is stalling and public mistrust of the police is growing. (Photo: Giorgi Lomsadze)

The reform of Georgia’s law-enforcement apparatus was once the pride of the country and still serves as a model for the rest of the former Soviet space. But a series of high-profile incidents of alleged police misconduct have highlighted concerns that progress is stalling and public mistrust of the police is growing.
 
Two of the most recent controversies were the arrest in early June of a rap duo, collectively known as Birzha Mafia, on questionable drug-possession charges and the scandalous abduction, in May, of Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli.
 
But even before these incidents, opinion polls were showing a decline in public confidence in the law-enforcement system. According to surveys, 60 percent of Georgians approved of the police’s performance in November 2013, but that number had dipped to 38 percent by April of this year.
 

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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance journalist and a frequent contributor to EurasiaNet.org's Tamada Tales blog.

Georgia: Are the Police Backsliding?

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