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Prosecutor’s Office comments on church-related scandal

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, February 21
Deputy Chief Prosecutor Mamuka Vasadze made his first comment about the alleged attempted murder of a “high-ranking spiritual figure” as the Office stated earlier.

Vasadze had to make explanations in the wake of the official statement of Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze, who said a week ago at a special briefing that a clergyman had been detained who was allegedly trying to murder a high-ranking church official with cyanide.

Shotadze did not specify who the target was, but members of the public thought it was Catholics Patriarch Ilia II, especially after the Prime Minister and other government and majority members stressed that the country had avoided a “huge disaster” through the priest's detention.

Speculation continues, as the Prosecutor’s Office has not yet stated who the target of the attack was, but in an interview with a local newspaper, the Deputy Chief Prosecutor said it was not Ilia II.

Now the media speculates that the person who was an alleged target of the attack is the Patriarch’s secretary Shorena Tetruashvili, who was not a senior figure in the church.

“May be there was a plan to murder several persons,” Vasadze said.

He stated the detectives are working on several versions, but they refrain from disclosing the details at this stage due to the interests of the case.

“The investigation has established that a murder really was planned. However, it might be there was a plan to murder several people. One person is already identified, but I would not name him as the investigation is still underway,” said Vasadze.

The Deputy Chief Prosecutor declined to answer the question of whether the identified person was a cleric or not.

After all these speculation, the Prosecutor’s Office should not be surprised if someone says something negative about them as, making such statements without any explanation was irresponsible.

Even after Shotadze’s statement caused an uproar amongst the public, the Office offered no further clearing up and did not specify target of the attack was not the Patriarch.

The issues that are related to the church are generally very important and subtle in Georgia, and while making such an crucial statement, cultural sensitivity must be taken into account.

It remains to be seen whether the Prosecutor’s Office is less competent or if it deliberately provoked the public with the lack of released information.