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Georgian Prosecutor in Cyanide Case Calls Ombudsman’s Report Groundless

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, November 17
(TBILISI) – The General Prosecutor who oversaw a high profile case involving a member of the Georgian clergy who attempted to commit murder via Cyanide poisoning, called a recent report on the trial by a Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili “groundless and incompetent.”

Jarji Tsiklauri claims that Nanuashvili, who spoke about violations in the case, has had a “biased attitude” from the very beginning and was “deliberately spreading” false information.

“From February 15-March 2, Nanuashvili deliberately spread falsehoods. In particular, he alleged he wasn’t granted access to requested case materials from the Chief Prosecutor's Office. But at that same time, he publicly stated that there were significant violations in the case… his request for the materials was not received by the Prosecutor's Office until March 2,” said Tsiklauri. “His groundless criticism indicates his deep incompetence.”

Tsiklauri stated that Giorgi Mamaladze, the priest found guilty of attempted murder and who is now serving a nine-year prison sentence, had six lawyers at his disposal. None of which ever applied to the Prosecutor's Office for further case materials.

“I would like to point out that no one, including the Public Defender, has the right to interfere in the activities of the Prosecutor's Office,” said Tsiklauri.

Nanuashvili said in response that Tsiklauri’s statement was an attempt to justify violations that took place in the investigation process.

In his preliminary report released on Wednesday, Nanuashvili claims the defense team worked under “unfair conditions” after being denied access to certain pieces of evidence, which, according to Nanuashvili, did not serve the goals of procedural legislation and were “superfluous and unnecessary.”

“Tbilisi City Court and the Court of Appeals did not allow the defense to obtain airport camera recordings, which would be key pieces of evidence in this case. As a result, the defense was deprived of the opportunity to appoint several investigators to the case,” Nanuashvili said.

In early February, Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor announced that they had detained Mamaladze, the deputy head of the Patriarchate’s Property Management Service and director general of the Patriarchate’s medical center, at Tbilisi International Airport. According to the prosecution, he intended to flee to Germany on February 10.

Ilia II was in Germany at the time to undergo an operation for bladder-related complications.

Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze said that Mamaladze had attempted to acquire cyanide from a close friend and distant relative, journalist Irakli Mamaladze, who informed the police that the former priest intended to kill a “high ranking spiritual figure.”

Suspicion about who Mamaladze planned to murder grew when Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated that the country had “avoided a huge tragedy.”

The Prosecutor’s office later stated that the alleged target was Ilia II’s secretary, Shorena Tetruashvili, and that Mamaladze sought “personal revenge” against her.

Mamaladze’s family, lawyers and some clergymen say he had information about violations in the Patriarchate, backed by Tetruashvili and others.