Amnesty International Calls on Malaysian Authorities to Ensure Fair Trial for Georgian Women

(Washington, D.C.) Amnesty International calls on the Malaysian authorities to ensure that two Georgian women accused of drug trafficking receive fair trials that meet international standards.

Darejan Kokhtashvili and Babutsa Gordadze, who were detained on October 26 in Penang and Sabah respectively, face the death penalty under Malaysian law.

“The Malaysian authorities must ensure legal representation for the two Georgian women who face the death penalty,” said Lance Lattig, Malaysia researcher at Amnesty International. “These women must have an interpreter to translate the proceedings into a language they can understand.”

Babutsa Gordadze, 26, whose pre-trial hearing was held on  November 4, was not provided either a lawyer or translator, according to news reports. The preliminary hearing for Darejan Kokhtashvili, 32, is to be held on November 8. Both trials are expected to begin next week.

Gordadze has been charged under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, which imposes mandatory death by hanging. Moreover, this provision flouts international human rights standards by presuming the defendant to be guilty unless she can prove her innocence.

Both defendants are mothers of young children.

“These women deserve a fair trial," said Lattig. "Regardless of the trial’s outcome, they must be spared from the death sentence.”

Background

Sixteen countries in Asia apply the death penalty for drug-related offences. Since many countries in the region do not release information on the death penalty, it is impossible to calculate exactly how many drug-related death sentences are imposed.

However, in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, reports indicate that a high proportion of death sentences are imposed upon those convicted of drug offences.

Despite these executions in Asia, there is no clear evidence of a decline in drug-trafficking that could be attributed to the threat or use of the death penalty. There is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters serious crime in general more effectively than other punishments.   

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

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For more information, please visit: www.amnestyusa.org.

 

Contact: AIUSA media relations office, 202-509-8194

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