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The News in Brief

Wednesday, May 31
Murder plot against Georgian patriarch allegedly revealed

A lawyer for the Georgian church claimed on Monday that there is a plot to assassinate the head of the church involving high-level clerics.

One of the clerics implicated in the attempt on Patriarch’s life is Metropolitan Petre Tsaava, according to Edisher Karchava, a lawyer working for the Patriarchate who spoke to several media outlets on Monday.

“[Metropolitan] Petre was apparently actively involved in the attempt to kill the patriarch. As for his accomplices, I can’t name specific persons, but one of them is now in jail. I’m talking about Giorgi Mamaladze,” Karchava told Channel 1.

Several persons were involved in the plot with the purpose of “dethroning the Catholicos-Patriarch by all means… including liquidation”.

Karchava added that he will ask the Holy Synod to exclude the Metropolitan from its ranks.

Soso Okhanashvili, a former head of patriarch’s security detail, was part of the plot, he continued. Okhanashvili resigned in February in the wake of another alleged assassination plot against Patriarch Ilia II’s personal secretary.

Tsaava’s rank of metropolitan is the second highest in the church after the patriarch. He is a member of the Holy Synod and leads the strategically important Chkondidi diocese.

Tsaava has often appeared on TV openly criticizing alleged corruption among the clerics. He has particularly criticized Shorena Tetruashvili, the patriarch’s secretary who was allegedly the target of the first assassination plot. Although not holding any formal position within the church hierarchy, she is believed to hold a strong sway over the archbishops and the Patriarch himself.

Later on Monday, Tsaava flatly denied all accusations and accused the Patriarchate’s lawyer of slander. He claimed that Tetruashvili is behind the allegations.

“I will not enter into a debate with these demonic forces,” he told Pirveli TV.

“Karchava voices the wishes of the informal head of the Patriarchate,” he said, with clear reference to Tetruashvili.

The scandal in the Georgian Orthodox Church began in early February with the arrest of Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze at Tbilisi airport as he was about to board a plane with cyanide in his luggage. He was charged with planning to murder Tetruashvili – a case dubbed ‘the Cyanide Affair’. (DF watch)

Two persons arrested for extorting 200,000 USD from businessman

The officers of the Central Criminal Police Department detained R.Zh. (DoB 1958) and B.G. (DoB 1983) in a special operation for an attempt to extort a large amount of money from a businessman.

The investigation established that R.Zh. and B.G. Extorted 200,000 USD from a certain businessman under the threat of killing him.

Law enforcers managed to detain the mentioned persons prior to receiving the demanded sum of money from the victim.

An investigation is in progress on an extortion charge of a large amount of property, as per article 181, II part, sub-paragraph A of the Criminal Code of Georgia. (IPN)

NATO membership is our final goal – Defense Minister

“NATO plenipotentiary membership is our final goal,” Georgia’s Defense Minister Levan Izoria said at the 2nd anniversary of the opening of the NATO-Georgia Training and Assessment Center.

“We feel great support from NATO on our path. I would like to emphasize the support from the alliance and thank them for it. I would like to thank each NATO member and partner country for it,” Izoria has said.

According to him, the NATO-Georgia joint center represents the most ambitious project of the NATO-Georgia Substantial Package aimed at strengthening the defense capabilities of Georgia’s Armed Forces.

“The center is unique in the region. As a result of the exercises conducted there, our defense capacity has increased, meeting higher standards than two years ago,” he said, putting emphasis on the U.S.–backed project promoting the improvement of Georgia’s defense capabilities. (IPN)