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On 1 October 2014, Parliamentary Majority MP, Irakli Sesiashvili, stated: “A total of ten people were arrested on charges of being members of the criminal world in 2012 when you [the United National Movement] were still in power. None of the imprisoned people were thieves-in-law. We arrested 70 people (including thieves-in-law) in 2013. Up to 36 people have been arrested on these charges in 2014.”

This statement was a response to several representatives of the Parliamentary Minority who accused the government of protecting members of the criminal world (helping them entering and leaving the country) on multiple occasions.

FactCheck

took interest in Irakli Sesiashvili’s statement and verified its accuracy.

Article 2231 was added to the Criminal Code of Georgia on 20 December 2005 according to which being a member of the criminal world (2231-1) and being a thief-in-law (2231-2)

became punishable.

FactCheck addressed the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia and the Supreme Court of Georgia in order to obtain statistics about persons arrested based upon the aforementioned Article of the Criminal Code of Georgia. Specifically, we requested information about the number of people tried and arrested based upon Article 2231

from 2005 to date.

According to the data of the Supreme Court of Georgia, the statistics of the trials (ended with appropriate verdicts) upon the charges of membership of the criminal world or being a thief-in-law in the courts of first instance from 2006 to 2014 look like this:

Year Article 2231 of the Criminal Code of Georgia: Membership of the Criminal World
Overall Trials with Verdict On the Basis of a Plea Agreement Verdicts from Trials
Guilty Verdict Not Guilty Verdict
Case Person Case Person Case Person Case Person
2006 9 16 1 4 9 16
2007 21 52 1 1 21 52
2008 6 38 1 20 6 38
2009 9 22 3 7 9 22
2010 7 13 2 4 7 13
2011 11 38 4 11 11 38
2012 2 5 2 5 2 5
2013 1 4 1 4
First Nine Months of 2014 13 52 6 22 11 43 2 9

Year Article 2231-2 of the Criminal Code of Georgia: Being a Thief-in-Law
Overall Trials with Verdict Verdicts from Trials
Guilty Verdict Not Guilty Verdict
Case Person Case Person Case Person
2006 7 7 7 7
2007 7 9 7 9
2008 4 4 4 4
2009
2010
2011
2012 1 2 1 2
2013 1 1 1 1
First Nine Months of 2014 1 1 1 1

As the data of the Supreme Court of Georgia makes clear, a total of 53 cases were examined by the court (37 more than in 2013) in the first nine months of 2014. A plea agreement was reached in 22 of the cases (18 more than in 2013 and 17 more than in 2012). A total of 43 guilty verdicts were passed (39 more than in 2013 and 38 more than in 2012) and one person was declared guilty of being a thief-in-law (the same as in 2013 and one more than in 2012).

According to the data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, the statistics of people against whom proceedings were begun based upon Points 1 and 2 of Article 2231

of the Criminal Code of Georgia look like this:

Article of the Criminal Code of Georgia

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014 (First Eight Months)

2231-1

57

60

15

14

38

11

7

68

23

2231-2

30

2

1

1

4

0

4

2

1

Conclusion As the statistics of the Ministry of Internal Affairs show, the Ministry arrested a total of ten people based upon Article 2231

of the Criminal Code of Georgia in 2012. This number was up to 70 people in 2013 (60 more than in 2012) and to 24 in the first eight months of 2014 (12 people less than stated by Mr Sesiashvili but still significantly more than in 2011 or 2012).

The data of the Supreme Court of Georgia support the statistics of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia and make it clear that more proceedings were begun against members of the criminal world and more people were arrested upon these charges in 2013 and 2014 than in 2012.

The MP is not accurate when stating that no proceedings were begun against thieves-in-law in 2012. The data show that four people were arrested for being thieves-in-law in 2012. It should be pointed out, however, that the low number of those arrested for being members of the criminal world or thieves-in-law in 2012 could be explained by the fact that there were a much higher number of arrests based upon these charges in the first half of the previous government’s office and, therefore, there was no need for mass arrests at the end.

As for the accusations of the opposition that the government protects thieves-in-law, FactCheck

can neither confirm nor deny them nor does it intend to do so. Hence, we refrain from discussing this issue and offer our reader statistical data only.

FactCheck concludes that Irakli Sesiashvili’s statement is MOSTLY TRUE.