Georgia Genevieve Uys

Genevieve Uys, 32, faces eight to 15 years in a Georgian prison over alleged illegal possession of drugs. Images: Facebook

DIRCO hands tied as mom of SA woman incarcerated in Georgia fights to prove her innocence

Sandra Uys alleges that the MDMA was planted and intends to prove her daughter’s innocence with medical documents.

Georgia Genevieve Uys

Genevieve Uys, 32, faces eight to 15 years in a Georgian prison over alleged illegal possession of drugs. Images: Facebook

Capetonian Sandra Uys is determined to prove her daughter Genevieve’s innocence. The 32-year-old faces eight to 15 years imprisonment in Georgia but can get out in October 2023 if the family pays a 65 000 Georgian Lari (GEL) fine (R465k).

READ: South African woman faces 15-year imprisonment in Georgia unless her mother can pay R465k fine


As previously reported, Genevieve’s plea bargain agreement shows she was allegedly caught with 0.341 grams of 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), 0.13 grams of Oxycodone and 0.16 grams of Methylphenidate and 0.825 grams of Pregabalin.

MDMA is a recreational drug. The other substances are used as medication, but the opioid Oxycodone, the ADHD stimulant Methylphenidate (Ritalin), and anticonvulsant Lyrica (Pregabalin) are also abused.

On Thursday, Sandra told The South African she learned Genevieve provided the authorities with an electronic script (e-script). However, this was reportedly deemed inadmissible in court because it was not notarized. The family contends that the MDMA was planted to secure a conviction and payment of a fine – something the State has been accused of before.

“I’ve just spoken to her this morning, and, you know, I’ve only spoken to her about five times since November, and in that time, she’s been in detention and only allowed five minutes.

“So, I haven’t actually been able to ask her details of what happened. There have been way more important things that I’ve had to sort out for her in the five minutes we could speak,” said the mother.

Sandra explained that the family opted for a plea bargain because they cannot afford to run a full trial, and given that there is a near-100 percent conviction rate for what Genevieve is accused of, they would not risk it.

As previously reported, Human Rights Watch said Georgia’s drug laws and aggressive enforcement cause severe and unjustifiable harm.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Georgia launched an electronic prescription system for Category II medications in 2016 as a pilot in Tbilisi. Involvement in the electronic prescription system became mandatory in 2018.

“The reason why she didn’t have the physical hard script in her hands was because she had her e-scripts and because she always travels with her e-scripts and because she’s been through Batumi Airport probably four or five times previous to this trip and has always had her e-scripts on her. It’s never been a problem,” said Sandra.

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs tells its citizens caution should be exercised when entering the former Soviet Union country “as foreign nationals have been detained on arrival for possession of medicines that would not normally be problematic in other countries.”

According to Georgian law, a copy of the prescription translated into English and approved by the authorised agency (per the legislation of the country where the individual is travelling from) is required, along with a copy of the physician’s certificate, who issued the medical prescription translated in English. The authorised agency must also approve it.

The documents must be signed and sealed by the authorised person to confirm the validity of the prescription.


Genevieve, an International IVF Facilitator, was on her way into Georgia from Mexico. Since she is an experienced traveller, her story has been met with some scepticism, with people failing to see how she would forget her prescription – it has now emerged this was apparently not the case.

Genevieve was going to an IVF clinic in Batumi when she was stopped and searched at Batumi Airport, and the drugs were allegedly found on 6 October 2022. Since then, she’s been detained at the Women’s 5th Penitentiary in Rustavi and has recently been moved from detention to a different part of the prison.

Sandra seeks to prove her daughter’s innocence with medical documents

Sandra said the prescription drugs – used to treat various conditions – were prescribed to her daughter by a Mexican neurologist – Dr Miguel Alfonso Medrano Moran.

The doctor said he could not access Genevieve’s medical files because of Mexican laws.

Since she was awarded General Power of Attorney by Genevieve approximately a week ago, Sandra is in the process of obtaining medical documents.

According to Sandra, Genevieve provided Batumi Airport authorities and her first attorney, at a later date, with her e-scripts.

Sandra is now in the process of gathering the electronic scripts through her attorney in Tbilisi. She intends to forward the medical documents – some of which have started to come in – to prove her daughter’s innocence, even if it doesn’t reduce her sentence.

When asked, she conceded there would never be a way to prove the MDMA was planted but was adamant Genevieve would not have jeopardised her business and life with the drug.

Last week, the family started a crowdfunding initiative to raise money for the fine. First, the deadline for payment was 10 March. Now, the way Sandra explains it, the annulment process is being held back by the grace of the Georgian State prosecutor, but it could start at any time, and Genevieve would face eight to 15 years imprisonment.

The 60-year-old recently paid R100 000 towards the fine. “I have commenced with a motion to negotiate for my daughter’s early release, but have been advised that nothing will be considered unless the enormous fine has been paid,” Sandra wrote to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).


As previously reported, Genevieve suffers from Keratoconus – a congenital, degenerative eye disease – and is considered legally blind without her glasses or contact lenses.

The Georgian authorities allegedly took away the glasses and lenses upon her arrest.

Sandra said she was told the lenses would be returned once a judge approved the plea bargain, but this has not happened.

She is appealing to DIRCO for assistance with getting the glasses returned. She also asked the department to help access Genevieve’s medical records.

Dr Medrano said the medical files are held at Hospital Real San Jose and Puerta de Hierro Medical Center.

“I don’t have access to it because of the Mexican Laws, only Genevieve or a direct relative can have certified copies of the medical file, I hope this can help,” wrote the neurologist.

DIRCO Head of Public Diplomacy Clayson Monyela told The South African the department would not be able to help Sandra with her requests in Georgia or Mexico due to the laws in those countries.

Monyela echoed what Dr Medrano said about medical record access being reserved for a patient themselves or a direct relative. “It’s impossible for them to surrender such records to an embassy or government or an institution,” he added.

According to an English-language newspaper, The Guadalajara Reporter, patient access to medical files in Mexico is complicated.

When asked, healthcare practitioners can provide patients with summaries of their medical status, but the file is generally kept at the hospital. According to the law, the ownership of the file belongs to the medical facility, not the patient.

Patients have to approach the courts to access their medical file, which can be a lengthy process.

As for the return of the glasses and lenses, Monyela said it was an issue between the Georgian State and the family. “If they were to get a legal representative, perhaps they could, you know, negotiate through that person. That’s not a matter for the State,” he said.

South Africa does not have an embassy or consulate in Georgia. The closest embassy with consular responsibility is in war-torn Ukraine, Monyela confirmed.

DIRCO can do very little for citizens arrested abroad. The services they can provide include establishing contact with the detainee, providing general information about the legal system of the country of arrest, undertaking prison visits, assisting with fund transfers, and forwarding prescription medication and letters from family members.

The services are subject to various limitations depending on the laws and regulations of the arresting country and the operational circumstances of the South African mission in that country.

The Department says they CAN NOT (their emphasis) help arrested citizens with court proceedings, legal advice, release from prison or bail, investigating crimes, paying legal or medical bills, obtaining accommodation, work, visas or residence permits, and paying for repatriation or burial in case of death.