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Patriarch comments on church scandal

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, February 22
Georgia’s Patriarch Ilia II returned from Germany, after of successful operation and made a short comment about the recent scandal in the church.

Patriarch thanked the Georgian population for their prayers and highlighted that Mamaladze’s case would be discussed and conclusions would be made afterwards.

“Due to your prayers, I have returned safely from Germany after my surgery. Unfortunately, negative developments have taken place here. We plan to study the issues…I believe everything will end peacefully and well. God bless you,” Ilia II stated at Tbilisi International Airport on February 20.

Meanwhile, members of the parliamentary Movement for Freedom-European Georgia opposition are demanding the dismissal of Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze, who stated last week that Mamaladze was detained for his alleged preparation in the attempted murder of a high-ranking religious figure, for which he tried to purchase cyanide.

The statement caused large-scaled speculations, as the Chief Prosecutor didn’t name the alleged target of the murder.

Mamaladze’s lawyer insisted his client was innocent.

However, members of the United National Movement party stated that Shotadze’s resignation would change nothing, as he is not an important figure under the current leadership.

They stressed that the informal rule of Bidzina Ivanishvili, the founder of the current ruling Georgian Dream government, must end.

European Georgia assessed the United National Movement’s attitude as “stupid” and stressed that all officials must be held accountable for their actions.

Georgia’s Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili stated that Mamaladze's presumption of innocence was violated by the state.

The detainee’s lawyer also said Mamaladze, who was detained at Tbilisi International Airport on February 10, only received his luggage back more than six hours later after his detention.

The lawyer mentioned that law enforcement officers stated they found cyanide in his luggage.

Several days ago, Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office announced that they had detained archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze, the 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 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 senior religious figure.