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Detained clergyman asks protection for his family

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, February 16
Clergyman Giorgi Mamaladze, who was detained by the police for the alleged preparation of murder of a high-ranking spiritual figure, asked for protection of his family.

Mamaladze’s lawyer - who, based on the deal with the Prosecutor’s Office, has no right to publicly speak about details of the case - and the Public Defender say the detainee denies the accusations.

Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili, who visited the clergyman in prison, also said that Mamaladze denied the possession of cyanide, as the Chief Prosecutor’s Office said he was allegedly trying to poison the top church figure with.

Nanuashvili also spoke about the violation of equality rights, as the detainee’s lawyer has no right to reveal details of the case, as well as a violation of the presumption of innocence, as top state figures, including the Prime Minister, stated that through the detention of Mamaladze, the country avoided a “huge disaster”.

Many believe that the target of the “attack” was Patriarch Ilia II, despite the fact the Prosecutor’s Office didn’t name the high-ranking church figure, and only announced the motive of the action was “self-interest.”

The Office said they had audio and video materials proving the truth of their accusation.

Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office announced that they detained archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze, deputy head of the Patriarchate’s Property Management Service and director general of the Patriarchate’s medical centre, at Tbilisi International Airport, from where he intended to depart for Germany on February 10.

Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze said that Mamaladze was attempting to acquire cyanide, and the man from whom he tried to receive the substance informed the police that the archpriest intended to kill a high ranking religious figure.

Some clergymen state that the real reason of the detention was that Mamaladze knew about a range of financial and property-related violations in the Patriarchate, in which high-ranking state figures were also involved. He was trying to inform the Patriarch and ask for a financial audit.

Chkondidi Metropolitan Petre Tsaava directly accused the Patriarch’s Secretary Shorena Tetruashvili of sharing responsibility behind the attack, and stressed she could also be held accountable for Mamaladze’s detention.

Tsaava stressed Tetrushvili had several loyal clergymen in the Patriarchate whom she allegedly dubbed ‘goldfishes’, with whom she was committing violations and possessed property worth millions.

Mother Sidonia also confirmed the influence of Tetruashvili in the Patriarchate and stressed she knew about the financial violations in the Patriarchate from the detained clergyman.

Mother Sidonia also accused the top state figures of making 'incompetent' statements.

Tetruashvili herself has already denied the accusations.

Meanwhile, the Rustavi 2 TV channel exposed the Prosecution’s key witness, who provided the video and audio materials allegedly confirming Mamaladze’s blame, was a journalist named Irakli Mamaladze.

The journalist has accused the channel of committing a violation and putting his life at risk through revealing his name, but confirmed he really was a witness.

The journalist added that the police really had “alarming” materials, and that the law enforcement agencies truly did manage to prevent a crime.

The journalist will be protected by a state bodyguard through the witness protection program.

Based on the materials of the Prosecutor's Office, the Rustavi 2 channel also claimed that the high-ranking church figure who was the alleged target of the attack was Shorena Tetruashvili, not the Patriarch.

The Patriarch, who is now in Germany recovering from a gallbladder operation, hasn’t said anything about the case yet. He will return to Georgia in several days.