TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia may make it a criminal offense to make maps of the country without the two breakaway republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia as constituent parts.
Parliament is to review a draft bill that, if passed, will impose criminal sanctions, including up to two years imprisonment, for producing and distributing a map which doesn’t include the country’s two breakaway republics.
The bill, which was prepared by Irakli Sesiashvili, chairman of parliament’s defense and security committee, will criminalizing the “production, dissemination, advertising, sale, import or export to Georgia” of maps which don’t honor the country’s territorial integrity. The minimum punishment is a GEL 2,000 fine (USD 760), the maximum is two years in jail.
This is the same punishment as for insulting the flag, Irakli Sesiashvili told Liberali magazine.
The bill will target maps produced in Russia, which show Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. Russia recognized the two entities in 2008 and later opened diplomatic missions in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali.