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Georgia avoided huge disaster

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, February 15
PM Kvirikashvili has stated that the country, thanks to law enforcers, managed to avoid a huge disaster after a clergyman was detained on February 10.

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 to Germany.

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

The Office did not identify the person whose murder was allegedly planned.

"First of all, I want to tell you that we, all of us, have avoided a huge disaster. We prevented a crime against our country - a fatal attack against the Church. I would like to thank the law enforcement agencies that worked efficiently, without unnecessary noise, and prevented a catastrophe,” Kvirikashvili stated.

Mamaladze’s lawyer, meanwhile, says that based on an agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office, he signed a paper that prohibited him from speaking about details about the case.

Now the lawyer appeals to the Prosecutor’s Office to annul the paper and enable him to publicly defend the interests of Mamaladze, who, as he says, is innocent.

Representatives from the Patriarchate are not in unanimous about the case; some said there was a high probability Mamaladze was plotting to assassinate Ilia II, while others claimed he was innocent and the victim of certain people within the church who are themselves committing crimes.

Mamaladze's supporters also claim that since the man who was director general of the Patriarchate’s medical centre, he did not need anyone to provide him any poisonous substances, as they were readily available to him in his line of work.

The Rustavi 2 TV channel has released a letter allegedly written by Mamaladze to Ilia II.

In the letter, Mamaladze, as the deputy head of the Patriarchate’s Property Management Service, tells Ilia II about a range of financial and property-related violations in the Georgian church and requests him to allow a financial audit in the patriarchate.

Members of the United National Movement opposition party have demanded the creation of a special investigation group to examine the issue, a motion that was turned down by the ruling team.

President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili released a special statement, in which he said he was “concerned” over the Chief Prosecutor’s Office statement.

The President said he would wait for the completion of the investigation before making an official comment.