The messenger logo

Patriarch to meet detained clergyman’s family

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, June 21
Georgia’s Patriarch Ilia II will meet the family members of detained clergyman Giorgi Mamaladze - who is accused of attempting the murder of Patriarch’s Secretary - on June 21.

The family has long demanded the meeting and now claims that Ilia II allegedly wasn’t informed over their request.

The Mamaladze family say the detained clergyman is innocent and his detention was staged by the Patriarch’s Secretary Shorena Tetruashvili, “who controls everything in Patriarchate”.

“We are sure that Ilia II didn’t know that we wanted a meeting with him. We believe that Tetruashvili and Archbishop Jacob did their utmost to prevent the meeting,” the detained clergyman’s brother said.

The family announced that they initially wanted to meet with the Patriarch and the detained clergyman’s lawyers, but their request was denied.

“Then we were told that we could meet with the Patriarch alone, without our lawyers. As it appears they [some in the Patriarchate tasked by Tetruashvili] thought we wouldn’t accept the meeting, but we are ready,” the family said.

In early February this year, 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.

At that time the Patriarch was in Germany, where he was operated on for bladder-related complications.

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 spiritual figure”.

The Office did not say that the person whose murder was allegedly planned was necessarily the Patriarch. However, the Office’s silence for several days and no confirmed information generated speculation that the target was Patriarch.

Suspicion grew when Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated that the country had “avoided a huge tragedy.”

Only after several days did the Office state that the alleged target was Tetruashvili and also released video footage in which Mamaladze spoke about Tetruashvili in a negative context.

Mamaladze’s lawyers and family claim the man is innocent and the footage was fabricated.

Some members of the church claim that Mamaladze knew about various financial and property-related violations within the church, which is why he was “trapped by some people involved in illegalities” They named Tetruashvili as a “key wrongdoer” and Archbishop Jacob.

Mamaladze demanded that the trials be open, as he stated he had “nothing to hide.”

However, the Chief Prosecutor’s office demanded the complete closure of the trials due to “personal life videos in the case.”

Mamaladze and his three lawyers left the trial in protest after the full closure.

Following the step, the judge made a solution not to let Mamaladze’s lawyers into the court “for their disrespect”, and involved a budgetary lawyer in the case to defend Mamaladze.

The three lawyers say the decision was unlawful as Mamaladze has the fourth lawyer who didn’t attend the process on May 19 and she had a right to protect the clergyman’s interest.

Shortly before the trial, the Patriarchate’s lawyer Edisher Karchava accused Mamaladze of “money laundering”, which Mamaladze dismissed and demanded 50,000 GEL for ‘slander’.

Mamaladze’s trial at Tbilisi City Court will restart on June 23.

Georgia’s Public Defender, who was barred from attending the previous closed trial on May 30, may apparently attend this trial.

The survey released by Transparency International Georgia in 2013 reads that the funds allocated from the state budget to the Patriarchate since 2002 are about 200 million GEL.

The Patriarchate receives 25 million GEL annual financing from the state budget and owns millions of worth real estate in Georgia.